On April 1, several cattle on a Benton County farm killed a skunk, which tested positive for rabies on April 7. The owners reported skunks frequent their property and decided to rabies vaccinate the cattle on the farm. Vaccinations were completed 15 days after exposure on April 16. The livestock owners were advised to observe the cattle for clinical signs of rabies.
On May 16, a calf was heard bellowing. The livestock owner found the calf’s dam aggressive and charging, as well as ataxic with a head tremor and an eye twitch. The calf did not show clinical signs of rabies, the bellowing was likely due to its distress. The cow tested positive for rabies on May 18. The rabies incubation period in this animal was 45 days. The livestock owners also elected to test the calf, which tested equivocal. An equivocal test is handled similar to a positive.
The Minnesota Department of Health advised post-exposure prophylaxis for the herd veterinarian who was exposed during brain sample collection.
For information on rabies in animals and to view a map of positive cases in Minnesota visit the Board’s website and click on ‘Rabies’ under ‘Programs’ at the top of the page. For questions on rabies exposure to domestic animals call 651-201-6808. If you have questions on rabies in people, please contact the Minnesota Deprtment of Health at 651-201-5414.