Rabies Concerns Arise After Horse Death in Bedford County, Tennessee

Feb 28, 2024 at 04:01 pm by WGNS News

BEDFORD COUNTY, TN - The Tennessee State Veterinarian's office has confirmed unsettling news for residents just 20 minutes south of Murfreesboro in Bedford County: a horse has died, and the animal tested positive for rabies. This development in the equestrian community emphasizes the importance of taking preventive measures to safeguard both animals and humans against rabies.

State Veterinarian Samantha Beaty expressed concern over the recent incidence, noting that while rabies cases in horses are relatively rare, Tennessee has witnessed two such cases in the past five months alone. With rabies being a fatal neurologic disease, Beaty emphasized the critical need for livestock owners to consult their veterinarians regarding vaccination protocols for their animals. Vaccination remains the most effective means of protection against this deadly disease.


Last October, a similar incident occurred in Cocke County, where a horse presented with neurologic symptoms and was subsequently euthanized. Necropsy results confirmed a positive rabies infection, further highlighting the potential risks posed by this viral illness.

In Tennessee, the administration of rabies vaccines is restricted to licensed veterinarians. Cattle and horses are among the most commonly reported infected livestock species, with symptoms ranging from neurologic deficits to behavioral changes. Tragically, there is currently no treatment available for horses infected with rabies, underscoring the critical importance of prevention.

Rabies is a highly contagious disease with severe consequences for both animals and humans. Transmission typically occurs through the bite of an infected animal, making prompt medical attention imperative for individuals who may have been exposed.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Animal Health Division, under the leadership of the State Veterinarian's office, remains steadfast in its commitment to promoting animal health and preventing the spread of diseases. Through initiatives such as livestock traceability, disaster mitigation, and diagnostic laboratory services, the division collaborates with various stakeholders to uphold the principles of One Health – an approach aimed at improving the well-being of both people and animals.

As the investigation into this recent case unfolds, authorities urge livestock owners and the public to remain vigilant and take proactive measures to protect against the threat of rabies.

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