Colorado

Sep 16, 2009 6:15 AM by Jeannette Hynes & Bea Karnes

Rabid horse euthanized in El Paso County

A rabid horse was euthanized at a veterinary clinic in Peyton, in eastern El Paso County. Both the El Paso County Health Department and the Colorado Department of Agriculture confirm the case of rabies.

"Rabies infection in horses is rare," said Public Health Director Kandi Buckland, R.N., M.P.A. "We anticipate that the infection was caused by skunk rabies, which greatly concerns us because it would indicate that rabies is not only spreading in the county, but also crossing animal species and increasing the risk to people."

"It is critically important for people to vaccinate their pets and their livestock against rabies and to avoid contact with wild mammals," Buckland said. "Prevention is key because rabies is a fatal disease once symptoms begin."

The horse lived in the Black Forest area, but health officials say rabies is a county-wide concern. The veterinarian who treated the rabid horse says other horses on the property have received rabies vaccinations and are being monitored.

Colorado has not recorded a horse with rabies in at least 25 years, according to officials at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Six rabid skunks have been found in El Paso County this year. Prior to this year, the last time rabies was reported locally in skunks was 1970.

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