Rabies: Know the Signs, Stop the Spread

Check out this video and learn about rabies from Senior Veterinarian, Dr. Stacey Schwabenlander.


Social media post ideas for #WorldRabiesDay

  • Rabies is preventable. Visit your local veterinarian to vaccinate your pets or livestock! #WorldRabiesDay
  • Did you know? Rabies has been reported in every state except Hawaii. #WorldRabiesDay
  • There’ve been 24 rabies cases in Minnesota this year. The two most common carriers are skunks and bats. #WorldRabiesDay

Rabies stories

Click on “timeline of events” to read each story.

Rabid cat
Rabid Cat – Maryland 2013

  • An unvaccinated six to eight month old stray male cat was delivered to a local shelter.
  • Shelter staff reported the cat was friendly and affectionate.
  • Approximately one week later, the cat began stumbling and started displaying aggressive behavior.
  • The cat was euthanized and confirmed to have been infected with the rabies virus.
Rabid calf
Rabid Calf – Minnesota 2016

October 6, 2016:

  • The owner of a 6-week-old Holstein calf heard a commotion in the calf hutch.
  • The owner smelled skunk spray and noted blood dripping from calf’s left rear leg.
  • Later in the day, the owner found a dying skunk near the hutch and submitted it for rabies testing.

October 7, 2016:

  • The calf was officially quarantined by the Minnesota Board of Animal Health for 180 days.

October 14, 2016:

  • The skunk tested positive for rabies at the Minnesota Department of Health Public Health Laboratory.
  • Minnesota Department of Health determined there was no human exposure.

October 30, 2016:

  • The calf drank less milk than normal.

October 31, 2016:

  • The calf continued to have a decreased appetite and appeared to have difficulty drinking.

November 1, 2016:

  • The calf was found on his side, circling and thrashing.
  • The owner elected euthanasia.
  • Rabies testing was offered and declined. Based on exposure history and clinical signs, the calf is considered positive.
Rabid horse
Rabid Horse – Minnesota 2017

July 17, 2017:

  • The owner noted her 15-year-old Arabian mare appeared normal.

July 18, 2017:

  • The horse was down late afternoon, and stood with difficulty before laying down again. Eating and drinking normally.
  • Veterinary examination revealed elevated temperature, respiratory rate and heart rate.
  • The attending veterinarian suspected West Nile Virus and provided supportive care.

July 19, 2017:

  • The horse did not stand for most of the day. Her temperature, respiratory rate and heart rate were further elevated.

July 20, 2017:

  • The horse showed mild improvement, was able to stand and lay down, move side to side and ate and drank. Temperature, respiratory rate and heart rate remained elevated.

July 21, 2017:

  • The horse was observed biting at her hooves and legs and began thrashing and banging her head.
  • The owner elected euthanasia and the veterinarian submitted the horse for necropsy and rabies testing.

July 24, 2017:

  • The horse tested positive for rabies at the Minnesota Department of Health Public Health Laboratory.

July 25, 2017:

  • The Minnesota Department of Health recommended rabies post-exposure prophylaxis for 3 exposed persons.

July 27, 2017:

  • The Minnesota Board of Animal Health recommended 90 day observation for cattle on premises.
Rabid Cow
Rabid Cow – North Carolina 2017

June to July, 2017

  • The cow was pastured with 13 other cows and was isolated from herd mates when she went off feed.
  • Shortly after, the cow was observed to be drooling profusely and appeared to choke repeatedly. She died the same day.
  • Test results confirmed that the cow was infected with a raccoon strain of the rabies virus.
  • North Carolina public health officials recommended post-exposure prophylaxis for two exposed people.
Rabid Cow
Rabid Cow – South Carolina 2018

January 19, 2018:

  • The six-year-old Simmental cow began acting strangely. She was observed bellowing excessively, salivating, appeared to have lost weight, was running more often than expected and isolated herself from the herd.

January 20, 2018:

  • The cow showed aggression toward herd mates. Her voice began sounding hoarse.

January 23, 2018:

  • The cow died and was submitted for rabies testing.
  • The cow was confirmed to have been infected with the rabies virus by the University of Georgia Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories.
Rabid fox
Rabid Fox – Alabama 2015

October 25, 2015:

  • The fox was observed stalking and aggressively attacking a horse.
  • The horse stepped on the fox, killing it.
  • The fox was confirmed to have been infected with the rabies virus.
  • The horse was currently vaccinated against rabies at the time of the attack and received a booster vaccination the same day. The horse is reported to be healthy.
Rabid bat
Rabid Bat – Minnesota 2018

  • The bat presented to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota and died shortly after exhibiting signs of illness including involuntary movements and vocalization, and the inability to fly.
  • The bat tested positive for rabies at the Minnesota Department of Health Public Health Laboratory.