The Nevada Department of Agriculture has JUST confirmed a rabid bat in Washoe County. Rabies in bats is endemic in Nevada and the Animal Diagnostic Lab confirms between 6 and 20 bats positive for rabies throughout the state every year. Companion animal owners are URGED to have horses, dogs and cats vaccinated and maintained on a regular vaccination schedule.
Exposure to horses occurs through the bite of an infected (rabid) animal, typically a wildlife source such as raccoon, fox, skunk, or bat. Bites to horses occur most often on the muzzle, face, and lower limbs. The virus migrates via nerves to the brain where it initiates rapidly progressive, invariably FATAL infection.
Even though Nevada is currently considered free of terrestrial rabies (rabies in skunks, raccoons and foxes) surveillance in wildlife species is ongoing. Rabies is currently considered an emerging disease. Bat rabies has been shown to jump the species barrier into skunks and foxes in our neighboring Arizona within the last decade, a previously unrecognized possibility. California and Arizona both have had significant levels of terrestrial rabies for decades.
The American Associate of Equine Practitioners recommends rabies as one of the core vaccines for all equids. Taking the simple step of ensuring annual vaccination for your horse will nearly eliminate your horse’s risk of contracting fatal disease.