First a horse, now a calf. We're accustomed to reporting about rabies cases in wild animals, but over the last week, rabies has been confirmed in a horse near Cherryville and now in a calf in Lawndale.
Rabies cases in any kind of domestic animal are rare, but they do happen. Any warn-blooded animal can get the fatal disease. Once infected, there is no cure. North Carolina law requires owners of dogs, cats and ferrets to get their animals vaccinated, but as we pointed out in anothe article, horses--because of their natural curiosity--are at least four times more likely to get rabies as dogs.
The Cleveland County rabid calf was on Devine Road in the Double Shoals area southeast of Fallston. The horse was from a location just northeast of Cherryville.
Other horses at the same location have shown no signs of the disease so far; they've been vaccinated and quarantined. Dogs at the location had current rabies shots, so they got a booster shot but should be safe.
Not only is the disease fatal; there is no way to test an animal to see if it has been infected except to euthanize the animal if it hasn't already died. North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said it's important to vaccinate farm animals just like dogs, cats and ferrets--for their safety and that of humans. "Since horse owners should be vaccinating their horses against EEE, a fatal disease that kills some horses every summer, it's a good time to get them vaccinated against rabies, too."