Rabies Alerts

Benton County horse tests positive for rabies virus

A horse in Benton County tested positive for rabies on July 24. The attending veterinarian initially examined the horse on July 18 and reported it was recumbent, but able to stand with assistance. Additional clinical signs included facial spasms, low grade fever and incoordination. The horse was reportedly eating and drinking normally. The owner elected to euthanize the horse after it failed to respond to treatment.

The owner of the horse reported smelling a skunk in the area about two months prior to onset of illness. Currently, other animals on the property appear healthy, including two

Pennington County kitten tests positive for rabies virus

A woman in Pennington County reported one kitten from a six-week-old litter meowing more noticeably than others on June 22. She picked up the kitten to investigate the meowing and was bitten. Later, the kitten began acting strangely, shaking and was disoriented. The following day it was unresponsive and appeared dead, so it was euthanized and submitted for rabies testing. A positive test result was confirmed on June 26.

The owner recalled seeing a skunk about two weeks before the kitten started showing signs of illness. Although none of the surviving cats are vaccinated against the rabies virus

Benton County cow tests positive for rabies virus

On November 27, a farm owner in Benton County noticed one of his beef cows was not eating well, salivating, and bellowing. The cow went down in the pasture on December 2 and was having difficulty moving. The owner said the cow appeared to be a little better the following day, and then declined further and was found dead on December 5, eight days from when she started showing clinical signs of rabies.

This is the 54th case of rabies in Minnesota animals this year and the sixth case in Benton County. Four head of cattle tested positive, along with two cats, a horse, a fox, 10 skunks, and 36 bats

Bovine in Pipestone County

A cow in Pipestone County tested positive for rabies on Friday, January 22. The animal went down on January 17 and caretakers had difficulty trying to get her to stand again. The cow also showed clinical signs of salivating and struggling to lift its head. The property owners recalled a skunk acting strangely in the area before it was killed three weeks earlier.

Other animals on the property are being evaluated for exposure, including: dogs, horses, swine, and cattle.

The Minnesota Department of Health did not advise post-exposure prophylaxis for anyone involved. Those who cared for the rabid

Horse and calf test positive for rabies in two separate cases

Wilkin County Horse

On July 6, 2016 owners of an unvaccinated horse in Wilkin County found their mare unwilling to stand and unable to eat or drink. A veterinarian’s examination of the mare didn’t show any improvement and the following evening, the mare became extremely vocal and died. The horse owners report smelling skunk on the evening of the horse’s death, otherwise they report no skunk sightings on their farm this year. The horse tested positive for rabies on July 11, 2016.

There are several other horses on the farm and some have a history of rabies vaccination.  There are also two dogs and

Cat in Polk County

A homeowner in Polk County, who commonly feeds stray cats, noticed on May 19 that an eight week old kitten was unsteady, skittish, and acting abnormally. Both homeowners attempted to capture the kitten and both were bitten and scratched. This kitten is part of a litter of four. Three weeks earlier, two of the four kittens were killed by what is believed to have been a skunk. The homeowners noticed blood on this kitten after the attack. The kitten tested positive for rabies on May 23. The homeowners estimate they typically feed about 15 stray cats on their property and have an additional 21

Bovine in Benton County

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

Feline in Steele County

A Steele County kitten is the second feline to test positive for the rabies virus this year. The property where the kitten resided is home to about one dozen stray cats. Over a period of three days, the kitten bit both property owners and began to act even more aggressively in the days that followed. On Sunday, September 13th the kitten was found dead. It tested positive for rabies on September 16th.

In addition to the 12 stray cats, there are two dogs on the property that have not been rabies vaccinated. The owners note occasionally smelling skunks, one of the primary wildlife reservoirs for

Heifer in Houston County

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.

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Feline in Rock County

A feline in Rock County is the first domestic animal to test positive for the rabies virus this year. The cat lived outdoors amongst a colony of approximately two dozen other cats, and was not vaccinated against the rabies virus. The owner reported that the cat had bitten her on the hand. The following day the cat was seen dragging its backend outside and was later brought inside for confinement. After a day of being indoors the owner noticed the cat’s condition worsening with the development of muscle tremors. It was brought to an emergency veterinarian. Two days later the owner brought it to

Feline in Roseau County

A feline in Roseau County is the first domestic animal to test positive for the rabies virus this year. This was an outdoor cat that was not vaccinated against the rabies virus and was part of a colony of about 20 other cats. The owner reported that the cat had attacked, unprovoked, biting the owner. The following day the cat was seen staggering around outside. Three days after the attack, the cat was still not acting normally according to the owner. It was euthanized the same day and tested positive for rabies on February 26. Post-exposure prophylaxis was recommended for the owner by the

Bovine in Lincoln County

A Lincoln County dairy farmer noticed one of his dairy cows appeared ill on Friday, December 27. His veterinarian examined the animal and immediately recognized the cow’s clinical signs, including the classic bellow, as a probable rabies case. The veterinarian was careful to have no exposure to the cow. The animal’s head was submitted for rabies testing and was confirmed positive on December 31.

There are multiple farm cats on the property with no history of rabies vaccination and two currently-vaccinated dogs. One of the dogs was sprayed by a skunk in early to mid-November.

The Minnesota

Cat in Red Lake County

A Red Lake County man took in a stray cat days before Christmas. The cat was kept kenneled in his home where he attempted to feed and nurse it back to health. After escaping the kennel, the cat scratched and possibly bit the property owner. The cat died within 24 hours of the incident and tested positive for rabies on December 27.

The owner reported a history of skunk sightings around the property. He also reported that his currently vaccinated house dog was attacked outside by a different cat that he fears may have also had rabies. The cat since disappeared. The owner has been advised to

Bovine in Stearns County

A Stearns County property owner noticed that one of his five-month old calves had begun showing some atypical behaviors on September 30. The property owner recalled seeing a skunk in the calf’s hutch sometime towards the end of July. The calf was bellowing, off feed, showing signs of aggression, and mounting other calves within the pen. The calf was euthanized on October 4 and tested positive for rabies October10.

Though rabies is not typically spread from bovine to bovine, the property owner has been advised to closely monitor his cattle herd in the coming weeks due to possible exposure to the

Equine in Nobles County

On September 28, a Nobles County man noticed that his horse was not doing well. The horse was separated from other horses on the property and was lethargic, disoriented, and circling. The animal’s health continued to decline. The horse was euthanized on October 1 and tested positive for the rabies virus. There is no history of rabies vaccination for this animal.

This horse was on the Nobles County property for the past month, but spent the three preceding months at another property in adjacent Rock County. It is possible the horse was exposed while in Rock County. There are multiple species of

Bovine in Todd County

A farmer in Todd County noticed that one of his three-month-old bottle-fed calves was refusing to eat last Sunday. Skunks were seen around the property in mid-January, and the farmer recalled the barn smelling like skunk. The calf was euthanized on Monday and submitted for testing. The animal tested positive for rabies on April 3.

Seventeen family members had visited the farm in the 10 days preceding the calf’s onset of clinical signs. Eight of those individuals will need to receive post-exposure prophylaxis.

This is the 13th case of rabies in Minnesota this year. The only other case in Todd

Goat in Nobles County

Two days before its death, a billy goat in Nobles County was observed by its owner to be ‘slow’ with a swollen rear leg. The owner had lost another billy goat with similar signs earlier in the week. After the second goat died, it was submitted for testing and found to be positive for rabies on January 31.

No exposure to a rabid animal was observed by the owners. Goats and other animals on the farm are under observation. The farmer has been advised to receive post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) due to his contact with the goat.

Rabies in sheep or goats is reported infrequently in Minnesota with the

Horse in Mower County

The owner of a horse in Mower County was witness to a progressive illness in his horse last week. The horse was noted to be weak and had difficulty rising. The animal began head pressing and occasionally fell down until it was no longer able to stand. The horse tested positive for rabies on January 4, making it the first animal to test positive in 2013. The rabies vaccination history of the animal is unknown.

The property owner has other horses, cattle and a dog. Exposures of these animals to the rabid horse are currently under investigation.

In 2012, two horses tested positive for rabies, one