A heifer in Houston County tested positive for rabies on May 15th. The owners reported that the heifer was walking strangely before it went down and was then unable to get back up. When the heifer did not improve overnight, the herd veterinarian was called and the heifer was euthanized. The farm owners had previously found skunks in their feed room on the farm, however, the rabid heifer was kept on pasture. The Minnesota Department of Health has advised five family members to receive post-exposure prophylaxis, in addition to advising the veterinarian to receive a post-exposure booster.
This is the sixth case of rabies diagnosed in Minnesota this year. Additional positive rabies cases include: one feline, one fox, and three skunks. Skunks and bats are the primary wildlife reservoirs for rabies in Minnesota. As summer approaches the risk of domestic animals coming into contact with skunks and bats increases. One of the simplest ways to protect your domestic animals from rabies is to keep them away from wildlife reservoirs and vaccinate animals that are most likely to come into contact with these reservoirs. Talk to your veterinarian if you are uncertain whether or not to vaccinate your animals against the rabies virus, and to verify if their immunization is current.