Rabies: Readers Share Firsthand Experiences

More than 870 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "Have you ever had a firsthand experience with a rabid horse?"


results of poll on rabies

Results were as follows: 

  • No, I have no idea what a rabid horse looks like 51.60% (451)
  • No, but I know what clinical signs to look for 36.16% (316)
  • No, but I have seen a rabid horse through video on the Internet, TV, etc. 6.98% (61)
  • Yes, I have witnessed a rabid horse case 4.46% (39)
  • Yes, I had a horse die from rabies 0.80% (7)

Readers shared their experience with rabies in the comments below.

Poll sponsored by Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health.

Results of weekly polls from TheHorse.com are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter. Published every week, this e-newsletter offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters using the form above or on our e-newsletter page.  

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  • my vet of 50 years here in rural AZ has seen 1 rabid horse in his career
  • we vacinate for rabies
  • My horses live behind my vet-rabid horse brougt in. wierdly lethargic
  • I thank my lucky stars I haven't met up with a rabid anything
  • seen rabied coons & skunks on my farm
  • My vet said not to worry about rabies vax because we live in So. Cal! Forget that!
  • ...and I don't ever want to see one! Get your horse vaccinated
  • I always vaccinate all animals on my farm for rabies
  • just looked like a depressed horse. i had to take the series
  • Very curious as to what all the focus is on rabies in Horse.com
  • of shots, because i had my hands on him
  • I have not had one-on-one experience w/ a rabid horse, but I am aware of the signs/risks
  • I have no idea even what to look for, its is so rare to me that I never knew it was a problem
  • my vet said it is extremely rare
  • Its insane
  • unfortunately many people do not know how it can be acquired (zoonotic di
  • 8 YO horse died... vets said no need to vax cuz it wasn't "in" my area :-(
  • Saw a Rabid horse once and hope to never again.
  • I have seen rabid wildlife in my pastures, So I vaccinate yearly
  • But I live in Sweden were we are lucky enough not to have rabies. (Yet - I might add!)
  • Have an old mag w/photos of rabid horses; interesting but scary!
  • what a horrible end
  • I saw 1 horse with rabies. It guit eating and lost 200# in 3 - 4 days. 10 poeple got the shots.
  • Must be careful not to contact anything with infected horse's saliva
  • it was my donkey
  • No, I have vaccinated my horses for rabies since 1995
  • Thankfully I have not experienced a rabid horse but am glad I know the signs.
  • I just read up on the symptoms and I hope to god my horses never suffer like that.
  • Thank God no, but I still vaccinate!
  • clinical signs are so varied - can look like colic, lameness, dental problem
  • Rabies wouldn't be the first thing I'm thinking of, but it has occurred in wildlife in my area
  • I have had to have one out down due to a bite from a rabid animal and horse not current on shot
  • Have not seen a rabid horse but have seen rabid dogs and cats
  • Saw a case in a vet clinic in Iowa about 25 yrs ago
  • Rabies,looks like any other viral brain infection
  • not a pretty sight, and one you can never forget!
  • have no experience w/rabies
  • I keep my horses vaccinated.
  • I have been vacinating for rabies for years, it's really cheap for an always fatal disease.
  • Always had my horses vaccinated for rabies.
  • no and I hope I never do!!
  • unfortunatly I have seen a rabid raccoon
  • My vet had to take rabies shots because he was exposed
  • 1975 had to take the series due to a rabid horse
  • I hope I never have to witness such an event
  • ...and I hope NEVER to see one. We annually vaccinate everything that moves.
  • I was called in by a local Vet,I'm a behaviorist. The horse was presenting nurologic symptoms- I
  • Secondhand experience through a vet who encountered a rabid horse
  • don't need to see it to know i don't wnat my horse to get it
  • I do vacinate for rabies
  • rabies uncommon in my state
  • only skunks
  • I had a sheep with rabies this year he was bitten in the face had to be treated
  • Rabid dog - yes. Rabid horse - no.
  • Saw a documentary video on a local case. Very horrifying.
  • I understand that there are over ten million horses in the US and only ten cases of rabies reporte
  • I didn't really know that horses got rabies =( I definetly don't know what to look for

About the Author

Megan Arszman

Megan Arszman received a Bachelor of Science In print journalism and equine science from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., and loves combining her love of horses, photography, and writing. In her “free time,” when she’s not busy working as a horse show secretary or riding her American Quarter Horses on her parents’ Indiana farm, she’s training and competing her Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Swedish Vallhund in dog agility and running.

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