Rabies is an infectious viral disease found in more than 150 countries and territories. It can be prevented by vaccines. It spreads through the saliva of an animal which is rabies-positive. Once the Rabies virus attacks the nervous system, brain and spinal cord, it can cause brain deterioration or even death. Most of the cattle get infected by a bite from an infected wild animal such as fox or raccoon. It is often found in a single animal instead of the entire herd. Rabies can be spread to the cows due to their curious nature who inspect dogs, racooons, foxes etc which are showing strange behaviors.
Signs of rabies in cattle
If the infected animal is not administered with anti-viral rabies drugs, an animal might move towards death very fast. The production of milk and food intake may drop drastically and cows would look always very alert and staring at objects. Some of the common signs of rabies include aggression, excitement and exaggerated movements. All of a sudden, their sexual activity may increase, including their mounting behavior. In case of bulls, you may notice persistent erections or a prolapsed penis.
Education and vaccination of wild animal are the only ways to control rabies transmission in cattle. If measures are taken to limit the number of wild animals carrying the virus and if they can be stopped to come in contact with pasture and farmland, the chances of rabies transmission gets reduced.
The cattle showing undetermined illness should be handled cautiously. While examining the mouth of the infected cattle, gloves should be used.
Tests and vaccination
Unfortunately, no test is available for rabies. There are very limited number of companies which produce rabies vaccines for cattle. Pfizer (Defensor 3), Schering- Plough (Rabdomun) and Merial (Imrab 3 and Imrab Large Animal) are the only vaccines available to fight against rabies.