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HAMILTON, Mont. - Ravalli County has been placed under quarantine after a horse in the county was diagnosed with rabies.

The Montana Department of Livestock says they received confirmation of the case on Wednesday, Sept. 8.

So far in 2021, this is the 12th case of rabies in Montana, and the fifth in a terrestrial (non-bat) species.

Following the results, the county was placed under a 60-day quarantine to reduce the risk of further disease spread in the county if there are other exposed animals that have not been identified.

According to the Department of Livestock, the county quarantine applies to dogs, cats and ferrets in Ravalli County that are not currently vaccinated for rabies (MCA Title 81, Chapters 2 and 20).

The quarantine is in effect from Wednesday, Sept. 8, to Sunday, Oct. 31.

Animals past-due for a rabies booster, animals that are not 28 days past their first rabies vaccine, and animals that have never been vaccinated are subject to the quarantine.

At this time, four individuals are seeking post-exposure rabies treatment and 15 horses are being monitored for potential exposure.

“While rabies diagnoses involving horses are not common in Montana, this case is a reminder that they can occur, especially in unvaccinated animals”, says Dr. Anna Forseth with the Department of Livestock. “The rabies vaccine is a core vaccine for horses, as defined by the American Association of Equine Practitioners. Horse owners should work with their veterinarians to ensure their animals are appropriately vaccinated.”

The following are some tips from the Department of Livestock to protect yourself, your family and pets against rabies:

  • Consider vaccinating horses and high value livestock.
  • Keep all animals up to date on rabies vaccination.
  • Keep garbage in tight containers to avoid attracting animals such as skunks, raccoons, and foxes.
  • Avoid night animals, like raccoons and bats, that are active during the day.
  • Stay away from domestic animals that act aggressive and wild animals that seem unafraid.
  • Contact your local animal control agency if you see an animal behaving suspiciously.
  • Contact your veterinarian if any of your animals are behaving abnormally. Animals can present with a variety of clinical signs, ranging from lethargy to aggression.

If you or someone you know is bitten by an animal, you are advised to wash the wound immediately with soap and water, consult a doctor right away and call your local public health department to report the bite.

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