DONLEY COUNTY, TX (KFDA) - A Claude veterinarian said a horse they treated in Donley County tested positive for rabies.
State health officials confirm this is the Texas Panhandles first confirmed rabies case of 2018.
As the incident remains under investigation by the state, they hope it will remind all pet owners to take the necessary steps to ensure their animals won't get the disease.
Dr. Amber King with the Claude Veterinary Hospital received the emergency call this week from a client who was concerned about their horse.
"Went down there and did an examination on the horse," said King. "She was very unstable, difficulty walking, acted very dizzy and wobbly, when she laid down she had a hard time standing."
That horse didn't get any better.
It had to be euthanized and then tested positive for rabies.
"It's not something we readily think about with these horses because we think of the rabid cats and dogs that we all hear about," said King.
Thankfully, King said very few people were exposed to the disease.
However, anyone who has contact with an animal that has rabies could contract it.
"If you have contact with their saliva you are potentially at risk," said King. "If you have cuts on your hands or anything that way."
If exposed to the disease, the treatment is extensive.
"It's a one-time injection for that and then a series of four vaccines for them over a two-week period," said King. "Fairly expensive treatment, pretty intensive."
Dr. Mike Benson with the Claude Veterinary Hospital said the Panhandle's dry conditions could increase the potential for animals to get rabies.
"The sources of water for wildlife is drying up, so wildlife tends to come more toward town where there's water," said Benson. "So you have a lot more contact with you pets to skunks or raccoons coming to town searching for water as well as outside in the range areas where the livestock is coming up and watering at the same places."
Benson said they commonly see skunks, fox and raccoons carrying the disease, and that there are warning signs to look out for in wildlife.
"There's two forms- a furious form and a dumb form," said Benson. "But any wild animal that is acting unusual, for instance, if they start becoming gentle or showing up in town or places like that, people definitely need to avoid them."
King said any warm blooded animal is at risk for rabies and the vaccination for it is inexpensive and highly recommended.
If you come into contact with a wild animal that is showing signs of the disease, you're asked to contact local animal authorities.