State veterinarian warns farms owners of rabies risk to N.C. livestock

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The state veterinarian of North Carolina is warning farm owners to vaccinate against the disease.

Doug Meckes, state veterinarian of North Carolina, said the number of rabies cases particularly in horses has been higher than average this year.

Five rabies cases in farm animals have surfaced this year in our state. Last year, there were a total of four.

Local large animal veterinarians say although it hasn’t hit our area yet, horse owners should be taking precautionary steps to prevent rabies.

This is especially important because rabies can be easily contracted by humans.

“Rabies is a health hazard for you not just your horse,” said Linda Balot, Greenville Mobile Equine Service veterinarian. “And to pay for it, it’s one of our cheapest vaccines. It’s $20. So to do that once a year, that’s cheap insurance for you, as well as your animal.”

The signs to look for in horses are hard to diagnose. They don’t show the aggressive symptoms such as dogs and cats do but instead show neurological symptoms such as mood change and unsteadiness. The rabies disease will kill them and then tests are done afterward to determine if the horse had the virus.

With this state-wide rabies warning, officials are hoping to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

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