Reminder To Vaccinate Your Pets Against Rabies

On 6/21/2013, a case of rabies was reported in a fox in Midlothian, Virginia. Among wild animals, the disease is most often reported in skunks and raccoons but is also found in bats and foxes, and usually is transmitted from the saliva of an infected animal into a bite wound.

Every case of rabies presents a death sentence to the infected horse – and a risk of infection for other horses. Infected horses may show common signs including depression, lack of coordination and aggressive behavior or display more obscure signs, such as lameness or colic.  Because the signs of rabies can vary so widely – and the disease is so serious – some experts recommend that horse owners think of rabies first whenever they see unexplained clinical signs in horses.

Disease prevention – through vaccination and good management – is good for the horse, owner and equine veterinarian. MERIAL® vaccines provide the tools to help prevent some of the most common and most serious equine diseases, including rabies. IMRAB® is a rabies vaccine made by Merial and approved for use in six species of animals, including horses. And it is available in a combination vaccine that also helps protect against Potomac horse fever.

For more information about rabies or other equine diseases, feel free to call us: (434)973-7947.

Does My Horse Need A Botulism Vaccine If I Feed Round Bales?

The convenience of round-baled hay has prompted many horse owners to use these in pastures, especially in the winter.  Owners should be careful to select round bales that have been stored inside, are of good quality grass hay, and are not excessively dusty or moldy.  All round bales will have increased dust over well-made square bales.  Horses prone to allergic coughs usually have increased problems when eating round bales.

Botulism can be a problem in horses that consume round bales.  Clostridium botulism is a bacteria that is present in the soil ad in the intestinal tract of wild mammals.  Horses become infected with the disease when small mammals are crushed in the baling process.  The round bales provide an optimum environment for the development of the Clostridium botulism spores and the production of the botulism toxins.  When horses ingest the toxin, it causes weakness, paralysis and can lead to death.  We lose several horses each year due to this occurrence and it is easily preventable with the botulism vaccination.  At Blue Ridge Equine Clinic, we recommend that all horses consuming round bales receive an initial series of three vaccines and a yearly booster thereafter.