Rabies on the range

By Connie Orcutt • Published: June 1st, 2016
Category: Animal Airwaves

When the topic of rabies comes up, it’s often in the context of small animals. But in some locales, increasing numbers of cattle are also contracting rabies — with signs that often differ from those in dogs and cats.

Instead of becoming aggressive, a cow with rabies tends to quiet down. She may press her head against objects, repeatedly posture to eliminate or stop eating. And rabid cattle often emit a distinctive bellow. Other signs include drooling and trouble swallowing, which might prompt a farmer to reach into a cow’s mouth to check for a blockage, thus exposing himself to rabies.

An animal’s behavior alone won’t confirm rabies, but it should be enough to make you — and a veterinarian — suspicious. Most important of all, remember that just as in dogs and cats, there are vaccinations approved to prevent rabies in cattle.