Attention! This is a potentially life-threatening condition for your goat. Time is of the essence, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Rabies is a fatal, zoonotic disease that affects the goat's central nervous system. It is caused by the rabies virus, a member of the Lyssavirus genus. Due to the availability of a vaccine, rabies in goats is relatively uncommon. However, goats that aren't vaccinated against rabies are sensitive and susceptible to the disease. In addition, there is no effective treatment once a goat is infected. The disease is 100 percent fatal to all infected animals, including humans. Vaccination of the goat prior to exposure is the best form of protection.
Rabies is typically passed in the saliva from a bite wound from a rabid animal. The most frequently reported rabid animals include dogs, raccoons, bats, skunks, foxes, mongooses.
The incubation period for rabies in goats varies from 2-10 weeks depending on what part of the body is bitten.
In goats, clinical signs can be variable with symptoms being both general and similar to other diseases that affect the animal’s nervous system. This makes rabies very difficult to diagnose. Clinical signs are progressive from onset until death which is usually a 10 day process. The average survival time is 5 days.
Goats suspected of having rabies should be handled with care, and all those in contact with the goat should wear protective gear including eye goggles, face shields/masks, and gloves during interaction with the animal.