Horse is AZ's 1st pet rabies case in 7 years

Posted at 2:52 PM, Apr 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-18 17:52:39-04

The Arizona Department of Agriculture said a horse in Santa Cruz County has become the state's first case of rabies in a domesticated animal in nearly seven years.

The horse, whose owner lives in the Nogales area, was hospitalized but did not respond to treatment, according to a news release. The horse was later euthanized, state agriculture officials said.

"While rabies among domestic animals is extremely rare, with this being the first case in almost seven years, we are reminded of the importance of keeping our animals' vaccinations current," said Dr. Susan Gale, the acting state veterinarian.

Rabies is a virus that attacks the nervous system of mammals, causing erratic behavior and eventually death, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Rabies is most often found in wild animals, including bats, skunks and foxes.

The state Department of Agriculture urges livestock, horse and pet owners to speak with their veterinarian about how to protect their animals. Anyone in the outdoors who notices a wild animal acting out of the ordinary is asked to call Arizona Game and Fish as 623-236-7201.