Poll: Readers Guess Dogs as Likely Rabies Target

More than 930 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "Which domestic animal do you think is most likely to contract rabies?"

results of poll on rabies targets

Results were as follows: 

  • Dog: 55.07% (516)
  • Cat: 35.01% (328)
  • Cow: 5.23% (49)
  • Horse: 4.70% (44)

The real answer was cat.

Readers shared they chose their answer in the comments below.

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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Poll sponsored by Intervet Schering-Plough Animal Health.


  • Especially neglected barn cats - no vaccnations, lots of interaction
  • Dog, because most dogs will go after varmints in the yard
  • Shots aren't mandatory, they ROAM
  • cats in our area and coons are the worst two. (maine)
  • Dogs are prone to wondering in the woods allowing for them to come across animals that could be infe
  • The cat is a close second.
  • I'm not very knowledgeable about rabies.
  • Because they are the hunter and kill and eat others that may be infected.
  • A dog would be most likely to aggressively approach rabid wildlife, but also more likely to be vaxed
  • Gosh--a rabid cow. Never even thought about it.
  • dogs & cats
  • cats cause people let them out all the time and don't supervise them
  • I would guess cats due to their hunting instincts and a lower vaccination rate than dogs.
  • Feral cats or dogs are most likely to come in contact with the disease...
  • cats eat rats and bats all are carries of rabies
  • if dogs are kept outside they would most likely find an animal that has rabies and be curious
  • Dog - because they're more likely to tangle with susceptible animals like raccoons
  • cats are more
  • Used to live in India, saw lots of them. Scary.
  • BLM infected WILD HORSES
  • DOG BECAUSE RABIES IS USUALLY REQUIRED BY LOCAL GOVT.
  • If it's a cat that roams outdoors.
  • Cats roaming habits expose them to more animals as does their hunting instinct
  • Cats are the number one domestic animal that carries rabies.
  • Dogs, because of their curious nature, are most likely to come in contact with a rabid animal.
  • The unvacc' animal having the most exposure to unvacc'd strays or wild animals is the most likely.
  • a dog would probably fight and a cat might
  • becouse of there free spirit and there are many unvaccinated cats
  • Chose dog, but cats hunt and are quite susceptible
  • A lot of dogs will confront smaller animals protecting their territory.
  • Dogs are more inclined to protect territory and engage rabid wild animals
  • Outdoor cats hunt and interact with wildlife, exposing them more often
  • HORSE
  • assuming when not vaccinated
  • My barn cats are vaccinated every two -- not three - years.
  • They come in contact the most with wild animals.
  • Domestic cats are responsible for most rabies transmission to humans. Vaccinate!
  • Especially barn cats who often roam alone.

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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