GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- A show cow in Grayson County tested positive for rabies near the end of June. Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system and is rarely ever seen in cows.
Each year, the Texas Department of State Health Services reports the number of animals tested for rabies. Of the state's 232 counties listed last year, only nine counties had rabid bovine including Grayson.
Texas Department of State Health Services out of Arlington notified Grayson County Health about the infected cow just a few weeks ago.
The show heffer was a beloved family pet from southwest Grayson County.
Family members became concerned once it began choking severely and exhibiting symptoms of pneumonia. After a vet observed and assessed that the rabies virus was indeed present, the cow was euthanized three days later.
Names of the family members aren't being released. But the state issued preventative shots for everyone who came in contact with the animal.
Cows are typically docile. However, once bitten, symptoms can be quite frightening. According to the CDC, the rabies virus causes an acute encephalitis in all warm-blooded hosts and the outcome is almost always fatal.
The first symptoms of rabies may be nonspecific and include lethargy, fever, vomiting, and anorexia. Signs progress within days to cerebral dysfunction, cranial nerve dysfunction, ataxia, weakness, paralysis, seizures, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, excessive salivation, abnormal behavior, aggression, and/or self-mutilation.
Grayson County Health Department continues to monitor the family
but assures us there is no need for alarm in the community.
since rabid cows are such a rare occurrence.
"There were no other cows that tested positive for rabies this year," said Amanda Ortez of Grayson County Health Department. "Last year we had one other case where a cow in Grayson county tested positive. Usually the high risk animals include bats, skunks, raccoons and foxes...and actually coyotes as well. "
With only two instances of cows with rabies in the area, local ranchers just aren't that concerned about their livestock being affected. Rancher and WI Farms owner, Ben Wible in Sherman says show heffers are usually caged in and susceptible to being bitten by stray rabid animals. His cattle is on their own during the summer but he's not concerned with the threat of rabies in his livestock. "These animals pretty well take care of themselves," he said.
For even more detailed immunization information, visit their website at http://www.co.grayson.tx.us/ or the Center for Disease Control at http://www.cdc.gov/.
Air date: 7-19-12