There have been higher than normal reports of rabid animals in Arkansas this year, according to Dr. Dustan Clark, extension veterinarian with the University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service.

There have been higher than normal reports of rabid animals in Arkansas this year, according to Dr. Dustan Clark, extension veterinarian with the University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service.

Rabies is a fatal disease transmitted when infected animals bite another animal or human. Clark said the primary carriers are wild animals such as bats, skunks, raccoons and foxes.

“Classic symptoms include unusually nervous, agitated or aggressive behavior, with attacks on animals and people possible, followed by depression and paralysis,” Clark said.

Infected cattle and sheep may develop a hoarse bellow with drooling or abnormal swallowing, with some only showing a weakness in the hindquarters. Horses often are more whinny, wobble about or become very aggressive. Goats also may become very aggressive and bleat continuously while hogs often act excited and uncoordinated. Paralysis and death occur in 12-48 hours after appearance of symptoms.

“Many types of infected animals will chew rapidly, salivate continuously and go into convulsions,” said Clark.

Suspicious-acting wild animals should be avoided and pets or livestock should be isolated and contained.

“You should also call your local animal control office or veterinarian if you see wild or domesticated animals behaving erratically,” Clark said.

Animals suspected of having rabies are killed and tested by the Arkansas State Department of Health. For more information contact the State Public Health Veterinarian at 501-280-4136 or on the Web at http://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programsServices/infectiousDisease/zoonoticDisease/Pages/Rabies.aspx.

Rabies reports in Arkansas can be found at: http://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programsServices/infectiousDisease/zoonoticDisease/Documents/rabies/Map/RabiesMap2012.pdf.