A calf tested positive for rabies in Lac Qui Parle County on Oct. 26, 2023, the second to test positive in the county this year. The calf originated from a farm that had a rabies positive calf a week earlier. The spread of rabies from one calf to another, or from adult cattle, has been proven minimal, supporting the notion that both calves were possibly bitten by a rabid animal that entered the property.
The calf was unvaccinated at the time of purchase and began developing white nasal discharge about three weeks after the sale. The calf showed signs of lameness and was treated by a local veterinarian. The lameness seemed to improve. A week later, the calf was very agitated and seen running into fences, and later began circling while walking. The owner, with the help of two others, got the calf into a headgate and administered injections in hopes of improving the calf’s condition. On Oct. 24, the calf was unable to stand. The calf was euthanized and submitted for testing on Oct. 25 to the South Dakota State University Diagnostic Lab.
The Minnesota Board of Animal Health (BAH) confirmed during an investigation that the calf was housed separately from the other cattle on the farm due to lameness and developing symptoms. There were two vaccinated cattle dogs on the property with possible exposure to the rabid calf. The BAH recommended the dogs receive rabies boosters and be confined and observed for 45 days.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) determined that while treating and handling the calf, some saliva had become airborne and may have exposed the owner, the two assistants and the attending veterinarian. MDH advised that all four people receive post-exposure prophylaxis treatment.
Three cows and one dog have tested positive in Minnesota during 2023.
If you have questions about suspected or confirmed rabies exposure to domestic animals, call 651-201-6808.
If you have questions concerning rabies exposure in people, please contact the Minnesota Department of Health at 651-201-5414.
All dogs, cats, ferrets, and horses should be currently vaccinated against the rabies virus. In the event an animal is exposed or potentially exposed, pets should receive a rabies vaccination booster within 72 hours of exposure.