Rabies confirmed in Jeff Davis Parish horse

The following is a news release from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry:

Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said a Jeff Davis Parish horse was confirmed with rabies on June 28.

The horse, a six-year-old thoroughbred mare domiciled in the Jennings area, was brought to the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine in Baton Rouge June 27 after exhibiting abnormal facial twitching symptoms.

The neurological symptoms worsened and the horse was euthanized. A subsequent necropsy verified rabies.

"Rabies symptoms are often neurological and very similar to other disease symptoms like eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile virus," Strain said. "All of those diseases affect the brain."

Strain added that relatively few people vaccinate their horses for rabies.

"Horses are mammals and all mammals can contract rabies. If you're going to vaccinate your livestock for EEE and West Nile, the cost of adding a rabies vaccination is minimal. It's a disease that can easily be prevented."