Investigators are trying to figure out how Gaston County horse got rabies

CHERRYVILLE, N.C. — Investigators in Gaston County are trying to figure out how a horse contracted rabies.

The rabid horse was at a farm in Cherryville in Gaston County, which is about 30 miles northwest of Charlotte.

The infection was discovered by a veterinarian who was treating “a sick horse” last Wednesday.

“The veterinarian detailed the sick horse was showing signs of rabies,” county police said. “The horse died and was sent to Griffin Animal Disease Lab Monroe. The horse specimen tested positive for rabies.”

Authorities said the owner has two dogs that are current on rabies vaccinations, but they will receive a booster shot for their current rabies vaccinations. The farm’s other horses are being given a rabies vaccination and are being observed.

This marked the third confirmed rabies case in Gaston County this year.

There are about 30 to 60 rabies cases among horses each year in the United States, according to a University of Kentucky report. The country sees nearly 7,000 rabies cases annually overall.

The Rabies virus attacks the nervous system and can be spread through fluids that include saliva and blood. Symptoms can include aggressiveness, an inclination to bite and excessive drool or “foaming at the mouth.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.