Horse in Central KY Positive for Rabies

Thoroughbred located in Lexington

By Erin Ryder

A horse in the Hamilton Lane/North Yarnallton Pike area of Lexington, Ky., has tested positive for rabies, according to a statement from the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.

Department spokesman Kevin Hall said the Thoroughbred began showing clinical signs similar to colic Feb. 5. The horse was admitted to an equine hospital and underwent exploratory surgery. While in isolation following surgery, the animal started having violent seizures and was euthanized.

Testing confirmed rabies in the animal Feb. 11. Hall said the investigation into the level of human exposure is under way.

"Right now we're looking to see the level of exposure," Hall said. "We're visiting with the farm and with any workers that might have been exposed."

A skunk near Abbeywood Road also tested positive this week. Earlier this year, another skunk that tested positive for the disease was found in a pasture near Spurr Road. In that case, a man was bitten while trying to dispose of the animal.

These bring the total of rabies cases in the county in 2009 to five--already one more than in all of 2008.
Kentucky state law requires that dogs, cats, and ferrets maintain annual rabies vaccinations.

Clinical signs of rabies in a horse can look like many different things, including colic. The CDC reported 53 cases of rabies in horses in 2006.