Protect your pocketbook, reduce exposure to rabies!

Rabies is a fatal viral zoonosis and a serious public health problem. All mammals are believed to be susceptible to the disease, and for purposes of this document, use of the term “animal” refers to mammals. The disease is an acute, progressive encephalitis caused by a lyssavirus. Rabies virus is the most important lyssavirus globally. 

The virus is usually transmitted from animal to animal through bites. The incubation period is highly variable.  In domestic animals it is generally 3-12 weeks, but can range from several days to months, rarely exceeding 6 months. Rabies is communicable during the period of salivary shedding of rabies virus. Experimental and historic evidence document that dogs, cats, and ferrets shed virus a few days prior to clinical onset and during illness. Clinical signs of rabies are variable and include inappetance, dysphagia, cranial nerve deficits, abnormal behavior, ataxia, paralysis, altered vocalization, and seizures. Progression to death is rapid. There are currently no known effective rabies antiviral drugs.

RABIES EXPOSURE: Rabies is transmitted when the virus is introduced into bite wounds, open cuts in skin, or onto mucous membranes from saliva or other potentially infectious material such as neural tissue. Rabies may be transmitted when infected saliva, central nervous system tissue, or cerebral spinal fluid penetrates the skin or mucosa of a susceptible mammal. Rabies is usually transmitted by bite wounds, but may involve saliva contact with mucous membranes or a fresh break in the skin. Rabies is not transmitted by contact with blood, urine, feces, petting or touching fur, or being sprayed by a skunk.  Questions regarding possible exposures should be directed promptly to state or local public health authorities.

PUBLIC HEALTH EDUCATION: Essential components of rabies prevention and control include ongoing public education, responsible pet ownership, routine veterinary care and vaccination, and professional continuing education. The majority of animal and human exposures to rabies can be prevented by raising awareness concerning: rabies transmission routes, avoiding contact with wildlife, and following appropriate veterinary care. Prompt recognition and reporting of possible exposures to medical professionals and local public health authorities is critical.

HUMAN RABIES PREVENTION: Rabies in humans can be prevented either by eliminating exposures to rabid animals or by providing exposed persons with prompt local treatment of wounds combined with the appropriate administration of human rabies immune globulin and vaccine. Exposure assessment should occur before postexposure rabies prophylaxis (PEP) is initiated and should include discussion between medical providers and public health officials.

When a domestic animal has direct contact with a rabid or potentially rabid wild animal, it is considered to have had a potential exposure to rabies. It is very important to capture and submit the wild mammal for rabies testing if possible. Wild mammals that are not available for laboratory testing should be presumed rabid.  Domestic animals that bite other domestic animals are not usually considered as potentially rabid unless they are exhibiting signs compatible with the disease.


Rabies vaccines are available for cattle, horses, and sheep. There are no rabies vaccines currently licensed for use in swine, goats, camelids (llamas, alpacas), bison, red deer, fallow deer, elk or exotic species of livestock, however rabies vaccines may be used off-label by licensed veterinarians. A veterinarian and livestock owner should decide whether rabies vaccinations are warranted in a herd or in valuable individual animals. In Arizona, livestock maintained in areas with high rabies activity in foxes or skunks should be considered for vaccination.  Presently, Santa Cruz county.

Horses: Occasional cases of rabies in horses occur in Arizona. Recent cases include two horses in Santa Cruz County in 2009 (skunk associated) one horse in Maricopa County in 2009 (skunk associated), and one horse in Maricopa County in 2008 (bat associated).

Cattle: One cow in Santa Cruz County developed rabies in 2009 (skunk asociated). Two steers developed rabies in 1999. Both had recently been imported from Mexico, and they were infected with vampire bat rabies virus.

Llamas: Three llamas on one farm in Yavapai County developed rabies in 2002. They were housed in an area with active wildlife corridors and were infected with the Arizona gray fox variant of rabies virus.

Livestock with behavioral/ neurologic abnormalities that are not explained by an identified disease should be considered for rabies testing, especially if human or animal exposure has occurred. Livestock maintained on rural pastures or grazing land may contract rabies from exposure to wild animals.

Livestock that have recently been shipped to Arizona from out of state may be incubating rabies, and should be tested if unexplained neurologic disease develops.

A 14-day quarantine/observation period is required when livestock bite or expose a person.

If clinical signs develop or the animal dies during the 14-day quarantine/observation period, the animal should be euthanized and submitted for rabies testing.


Bats are notorious rabies vectors. In Arizona, an average of 11% of the bats tested at the Arizona State Public Health Laboratory are positive for rabies.

Any contact of an animal with wildlife in areas where rabies is present is considered a possible rabies exposure unless proven otherwise. The only way to do this is to have the bat tested.

If the bat is tested and is negative for rabies at the Arizona State Health Laboratory, then everything’s fine. If the bat is positive or untestable, then the vaccinated cat would need a rabies booster vaccine and would have to be observed at home for 45 days. The unvaccinated cat would need a strict (not at home) six month quarantine or would have to be euthanized. So, it’s clear that the rabies status of the bat and the vaccination status of the cats are crucial.

What about my indoor cat?  The answer to that is that there is no way to ensure that any cat is 100% free of risk of potential exposure to rabies. There are stories about rabid raccoons breaking through screens and coming indoors, and it’s quite common for bats, which have a high incidence of rabies, to find their way indoors. Bats can enter homes or apartments through small cracks.

Also, there’s always the chance, however small, that an indoor-only cat might sneak outdoors through an open window or door. Rarely a cat has escaped out of their carrier while traveling, when they become frightened. It has happened.

The consequences as previously described are quite severe.  Lengthy quarantines may be required for up to 6 months, sometimes even at veterinary clinics which can get quite expensive. Unfortunately the only way to test an animal for rabies is on their brain tissue, which cannot be done in a live animal. While there is an expensive preventative series of shots that humans can receive to prevent disease after exposure to a rabid animal, no similar preventative protection exists for unvaccinated animals.  Vaccinate your cats!

Protect Thy Pocketbook – Human Vaccination – Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)

The cost of a rabies vaccination for humans (PEP) typically includes: a consultation fee, sometimes shot administration fees and/or emergency fees, and the cost of the four required doses of vaccine for a total of $1500 to $5,000. One report indicated emergency room fees and treatment exceeding $20,000.  Often health insurance companies do not want to cover rabies treatment because the patient is not currently sick and thus the treatment is deemed elective.  Rabies is fatal and treatment must occur prior to the onset of symptoms.

The mean total cost of a suspected human rabies exposure was $3,688, the direct costs per case were $2,564, and the indirect costs were $1,124 of that total. About one third of the total cost for suspected human rabies exposure was attributed to indirect costs (e.g., lost wages, transportation, and day-care fees), most of which were not reimbursable to the patient.

Don’t risk your health or your finances, if you have an animal with unexplained neurologic disease minimize your exposure (e.g. do not put ungloved hands in the mouth), restrict all unnecessary visitors, and report it.  If you are a livestock officer or animal control officer and must work with the animal wear latex gloves, glasses, or additional personal protective equipment as needed.

Serving Arizonans…One Animal at a Time





Five Texas horses confirmed with vesicular stomatitis

Vesicular stomatitis (VS) has been detected in five horses in far Southwest Texas, (in Kinney County, southeast of Del Rio, TX). The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the viral infection of the five horses.

The horses were tested after the owner observed blistering and swelling on the animals’ muzzles and contacted their veterinary practitioner. Testing at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) confirmed the virus as the New Jersey serotype. VS can cause blisters and sores in the mouth and on the tongue, muzzle, teats or hooves of horses, cattle, swine, sheep, goats, llamas and a number of other animals. Lesions usually will heal in two or three weeks. Because of the contagious nature of VS and its resemblance to other diseases such as foot and mouth disease (FMD), animal health officials urge livestock owners and caretakers to report these symptoms to their veterinarian immediately.

Most animals recover well with supportive care by a veterinarian, but some lesions can be painful. The newly identified infected group of horses is currently under quarantine by the TAHC. Affected and exposed horses will be monitored by regulatory veterinarians until all lesions have healed and a decision is made to release the quarantine (a minimum of 21 days). There is no known exposure to other horses around the state, or at any equine events. No other cases of VS have been identified in the immediate area or elsewhere in the state. Dr. Dee Ellis, Texas’ State Veterinarian and TAHC Executive Director, said “Livestock owners should use the best means possible to limit exposure of their livestock to insect bites”. It is thought that insects are an important vector in the transmission of VS. Sand flies and black flies likely play a role in the virus transmission, so controlling insects is important. “VS outbreaks are extremely sporadic and years may lapse between cases. The last confirmed case of VS in Texas was in 2009,” Dr. Ellis stated.

Some states and other countries may restrict movement of, or impose additional requirements for susceptible animals from states having known cases of VS, therefore contact the state or country of origin for their requirements prior to moving livestock. Arizona has specific rules for importation of diseased animals, or animals that originate from a state or federal quarantine area. Such as obtaining health certificates, permits and prior permission from the Arizona State Veterinarian’s Office.

If you suspect your animal may have VS, you should notify your veterinarian immediately. VS is not highly contagious to people but it can cause flu-like illness if infected saliva gets into an open wound, eyes or mouth. People handling potentially infected animals should wear gloves for protection, and talk with their physician if they have questions.

Serving Arizonans…One Animal at a Time




Wildfires and Livestock

Wildfire season has exploded early in 2014!  Because of the ongoing drought, trees and grasses across the state are tinder dry.  Today, there are two large active fires that are not under control.

The Slide Wildfire has captured attention of folks all over Arizona.  Whether it’s the destruction of pristine wilderness, the bravery of the firefighting crews, the danger to people and their homes in the area, or the efforts to provide food, shelter and information about the fire, we are all affected in some way by this disaster.

In these types of emergencies, we at the Animal Services Division of the Department of Agriculture are concerned with the health and safety of livestock in the area.  For example, if you live in Kachina Village and have a horse or two, would you know what to do in an evacuation?  Do you have a plan?  Could you leave your horse while you evacuated?  For how long?  Where would you move your horse and how would you transport it?  What if you had a few goats or chickens? How would your situation be different?  These are all good questions to ask before a wildfire strikes.

Thankfully, in the case of the Slide Fire, very few residents have horses or other types of livestock.  What happens if there’s an event in the area like a rodeo or horse show?  Is it safe for you and your horse to attend?  What do you do if the event grounds need to be evacuated?  Do the organizers’ have an emergency plan? If so, who’s in charge?  How do you find out about the plan?  Will the smoke from the fire make me or my horse sick?  These are excellent questions to ask yourself before heading in the direction of an active wildfire.

At the Animal Services Division of the AZDA, we have been actively monitoring the status of the Slide Fire and developing plans to respond to these very issues.  Our Livestock Services Officers are located around the state and are key members of any local emergency response.  Hats off and thanks to LSO Randy Servis, who has been in contact with the Incident Management Team and area livestock owners to offer our assistance should the need arise.  Remember, safety is the number one priority.

The Slide Fire and other fires around the state are causing unhealthy air in several areas.  Horse and livestock owners should consider the amount of smoke in the air for their animals, as well as for themselves.  If you are planning to attend an event where there may be smoke, it’s a good idea to consult with your veterinarian – especially if that event includes lots of activity for the animal.  Strenuous activity is smoky areas is not a good idea, even for healthy animals.

Smoke tends to blow with the winds, especially during the heat of the day, and settle into the canyons and low-lying areas during the evenings.  During the Slide Fire, we’ve had reports of heavy smoke miles away based on the weather.

Be sure to monitor current and upcoming weather to be prepared for what you and your animals will encounter.  The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has air monitors near the Slide Fire available online

There is a call center where you can obtain information about the impacts of the Slide Fire.  Please call 928-679-4173.  The call center is open from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm.  Or visit the Coconino County web site at

Bravo – Pet Food Recall

Recall — Firm Press Release

Bravo® Issues Nationwide Recall of Pet Food for Dogs and Cats

ADA does not endorse either the product or the company.  Informational purposes only.

Contact: Consumer: (866) 922-9222

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 14, 2014 – Manchester, CT – Bravo is recalling select lots and product(s) of Bravo Pet Food because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

However, healthy cats and dogs rarely become sick from Listeria. Animals ill with Listeria will display symptoms similar to the ones listed above for humans. People who have concerns about whether their pet has Listeria should contact their veterinarian.

The recalled product was distributed nationwide to distributors, retail stores, internet retailers and directly to consumers. The product can be identified by the batch ID code (best used by date) printed on the side of the plastic tube or on a label on the box.

The recalled products are as follows:

1) These products are being recalled because they may have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

PRODUCT: RAW FOOD DIET BRAVO! BEEF BLEND FOR DOGS AND CATS (Made in New Zealand) All 2lb., 5lb., and 10lb. tubes Product Numbers: 52-102, 52-105, 52-110 Best Used By Date: 10/10/15 or earlier

PRODUCT: BRAVO! BALANCE PREMIUM TURKEY FORMULA (Manufactured by: Bravo! Manchester, CT) 3 lb. box with (12) 4oz. burgers Product Number: 31-401 Best Used By Dates: 1/07/16 and 2/11/16

2) These products are being recalled out of an abundance of caution because while they did not test positive for pathogens, they were manufactured in the same manufacturing facility or on the same day as products that did test positive.

PRODUCT: RAW FOOD DIET BRAVO! LAMB BLEND FOR DOGS AND CATS (Made in New Zealand) All 2lb., 5lb., and 10lb. tubes Product Numbers: 42-102, 42-105, 42-110 Best Used By Date: 10/10/15 or earlier

PRODUCT: RAW FOOD DIET BRAVO! LAMB BASIC FOR DOGS AND CATS (Made in New Zealand) 2lb. tubes Product Number: 42-202 Best Used By Date: 10/10/15 or earlier

PRODUCT: RAW FOOD DIET BRAVO! BEEF & BEEF HEART FOR DOGS AND CATS (Made in New Zealand) 5lb. tubes Product Number: 53-130 Best Used By Date: 10/10/15 or earlier

PRODUCT: RAW FOOD DIET BRAVO! 100% PURE & NATURAL PREMIUM GRASS-FED BUFFALO FOR DOGS AND CATS (Manufactured by: Bravo! Manchester, CT) NET WT 2LBS (32 OZ) .91KG (Tubes) Product Number: 72-222 Best Used By Date: 1/7/16

PRODUCT: BRAVO! TURKEY BALANCE FORMULA (Manufactured by: Bravo! Manchester, CT) NET WT 2 LBS (32 OZ) .09KG, Chub (tube) Product Number: 31-402 Best Used By Dates: 1/7/16 and 2/11/16

NET WT 5 LBS (80 OZ) 2.3KG, Chub (tube) Product Number: 31-405 Best Used By Dates: 1/7/16 and 2/11/16

PRODUCT: RAW FOOD DIET BRAVO! LAMB BLEND FOR DOGS AND CATS (Manufactured by: Bravo! Manchester, CT) 5 LBS (80 OZ) 2.3KG, Chub (tube) Product Number: 42-105 Best Used By Date: 2/11/16

This voluntary recall has been issued because the FDA has reported an independent lab detected the bacteria in a sample during a recent review. The company has received a limited number of reports of dogs experiencing nausea and diarrhea that may be associated with these specific products. The company has received no reports of human illness as a result of these products.

Bravo discontinued all manufacturing in New Zealand on October 10, 2013. Bravo will immediately start working with distributors and retailers to properly dispose of any affected product left on freezer shelves. The company will also be announcing the recall to pet owners to ensure they dispose of any affected product that has been purchased.

Bravo is issuing this action out of an abundance of caution and sincerely regrets any inconvenience to pet owners as a result of this announcement.

The recalled product should not be sold or fed to pets. Pet owners who have the affected product at home should dispose of this product in a safe manner (example, a securely covered trash receptacle). They can return to the store where purchased and submit the Product Recall Claim Form available on the Bravo website for a full refund or store credit. More information on the Bravo recall can also be found at, or call toll free (866) 922-9222


Serving Arizonans…One Animal at a Time