Rabies, Anemia Hit Horses In Colorado

Dread diseases watched closely by state officials.

Published on: May 10, 2013

Colorado livestock officials warn that two outbreaks in horses in the state are under watch.

One rabies confirmation in the northeast state, and an Equine Infectious Anemia find in Garfield County are under investigation by veterinarians with the Colorado Department of Agriculture this week.

The agency urges animal owners to consider vaccinations of livestock and pets in view of the rabies find following a confirmation of the malady in a Logan County horse, which has been euthanized.

"The department would like to stress two very important points," says State Vet Keith Roehr. "One: owners should monitor their animals for clinical signs of rabies; two: local veterinarians are a valuable resource to help producers decide the best course of action to protect their livestock and pets from rabies"

Keep your horses as healthy as this one by complying with new Colorado alerts of  equine rabies and anemia disorders.
Keep your horses as healthy as this one by complying with new Colorado alerts of equine rabies and anemia disorders.

Rabies may be vectored via dogs, cats, horses, small ruminants, llamas, alpacas and petting zoo stock.

The alert is vital, since rabies can hit the brain and nervous system. Often, affected animals become aggressive or dumb. The aggressive stage includes combativeness and violent behavior and sensitivity to touch. The "dumb" syndrome means the animal is lethargic, weak and unable to hold its head high.

The EIA infection appears not to have to spread to other members of its herd, says Roehr. Neighborhood horses also tested negative, he reports.

All of the horses contracting this disorder are considered sick for life. Infected animals must be destroyed or remain permanently isolated from other animals to prevent spread of the disorder.

There is no vaccine to protect horses against EIA.

"Identifying infected horses and restricting their contact with susceptible animals is the key to preventing the spread of this disease," says Roehr. "EIA is transmitted through biting flies, the most common being deer and horse flies; horse owners can protect their herd by control of biting flies around the stable and other areas where animals are kept."