GATESVILLE — A Gatesville veterinarian reported a case of horse rabies last week, the first equine case in an unusually heavy outbreak of rabies this spring.

Dr. Kerry W. Newman of the Bar N Veterinary Clinic said the 11-year-old horse was brought into the clinic April 13 from a feedlot west of Evant in Hamilton County.

The horse was staggering, grinding its teeth and had bitten a 10-inch diameter wound on its side, Newman said.

There were no other wounds on the animal, he said, and it was unclear how the horse had contracted the disease.

Newman said he and the animal’s owner decided to euthanize the horse. Its brain was sent to a laboratory in Austin for tests, which came back positive for rabies.

Two other horses that had been exposed to the infected horse will be quarantined by the owner for 60 days to determine if they are infected, Newman said.

Horse rabies is rare, he said. There is a horse-rabies vaccine, but, unlike vaccinations for dogs and cats, shots are not required for horses.

Eight cases of skunk rabies have been reported in Coryell County so far this year, according to figures from the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Gatesville Police Department.

Hamilton County has reported three cases of rabid skunks this year, according to state figures.

The last case of horse rabies reported in Central Texas was one in Brazos County in 2011, according to state figures.

Contact Tim Orwig at torwig@kdhnews.com

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