RABIES, BOVINE - USA (OREGON)
A ProMED-mail post
Date: Sat, 22 May 1999 23:37:14 -0400
From: Marjorie P. Pollack <email@example.com>
Source: News media (edited)
When a cow in Southern Oregon's Curry County started attacking other cattle
and charging farm vehicles, a local rancher knew something was wrong.
He turned to Oregon State University's College of Veterinary Medicine,
where doctors made a surprising discovery. According to their records, it
was the only cow in state history to be diagnosed with rabies.
"It sounded suspicious," said Dr. Jerry Heidel, the veterinarian who
handled the case. "So we asked them to submit the brain of the animal, and
from that it was determined it was rabid."
Rabies is extremely rare in Oregon, and even when it does strike, it
usually affects bats and foxes -- almost never household pets, let alone
farm animals. Of the 380 suspected rabies cases Heidel investigated last
year, only 17 -- mostly bats -- actually had the disease.
Some of the classic signs of rabies include aggression, drooling,
twitching, paralysis, bellowing and sexual excitement.
"A cow won't probably bite," Heidel said. "But it will attack you, butt you
and run you over."
The only way to tell for sure if an animal has rabies is to kill it and
conduct an necropsy. Heidel suspects the Curry County cow contracted the
disease after it was bitten by a rabid bat or fox.
The farmer, who stuck his hand in the cow's mouth while examining it, will
likely submit to a series of painful rabies vaccinations so he won't get
"Rabies isn't that common in this part of the country, and people are
sometimes too complacent," Heidel said. "But you should always keep it in
the back of your mind that rabies is a possibility."
-- ProMED-mail e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
[Veterinarians and producers/farmers are some most at risk from rabies in cows. This is primarily because the drooling and head shaking are the same signs that occur when the animal has a thorn or twig lodged in its throat. Consequently, the hand goes down the mouth to try and remove the source of the animal's problem. Generally, the bellowing, sometimes described as "out of a horror movie", has made shivers crawl down spines, including mine. - Mod.TG] .....................tg/es
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