Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, Texas
Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, TX
Lohn, Texas
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At a county fair in New York State during 1996, a goat that was being shown developed rabies. Of the approximately 25,000 people attending the fair, 2700 people were evaluated for potential exposure to the rabid goat, and 467 of them were treated for rabies exposure . . . at a cost of half a million dollars.

Because there was an outcry from the public to ban showing of domestic animals for which there is no licensed rabies vaccine, the County Board of Health decreed that all mammals being shown in any public event must be vaccinated for rabies, even if an off-label vaccination must be used. Registration of every event is required in advance. Barriers preventing contact with exhibited animals must be put up and signs must be posted warning of the possible rabies threat.

Other counties have considered similar measures to avoid liability and calm the populace. Similar rules are are in place at the state level in two other Northeastern states and have been added to the New York State Department of Health Model State Program for Management of Livestock in Rabies Enzootic Areas. In many states, Departments of Agriculture and/or fair boards either support or strongly recommend the use of rabies vaccine in show animals.

Because there are no licensed rabies vaccines for goats, this means that off-label products must be used. Veterinarians may refuse to vaccinate species for which there is no labeled product in order to avoid personal liability claims that might be levied against them. Moreover, livestock vaccinated off-label are not recognized as rabies vaccinated by public health officials. If exposed to a rabid animal, off-label vaccinated goats may be required to be euthanized immediately or placed under quarantine for up to six months.

When approached by goat raisers in the past, vaccine manufacturers have cited the small size of this industry and the expense involved in the licensing process as the reasons for not pursuing a licensed rabies vaccine for goats. A major vaccine company has recently agreed to work with Cornell University to help seek United States Department of Agriculture approval for extending the label of their currently licensed rabies vaccine to include goats. Drs Smith and Stehman are trying to raise funds by direct request to goat producers and other concerned parties. If the vaccine trial is successful, this vaccine will be officially approved for goats.

Goats have been purchased for these vaccine trials and are currently housed at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Mary Smith, co-author of GOAT MEDICINE, along with Dr. Susan Stehman and Dr. Donald Lein, all of Cornell, are involved in this study. USDA requirements are quite stringent, and the first phase of the study will cost $75,000. Phase One will be complete in March 2000. after which the goats will be transported to the rabies vaccine manufacturer for the second phase of the study.

These folks need your help. They need to raise $75,000 to cover these costs. If you show goats, you should run, not walk, to contribute. Every goat association in the country should make a substantial contribution. Associations sanction shows, and it is highly likely that as this news of goats as potential rabies carriers spreads, breeders' abilities to show goats in public activities will be significantly limited and the general public's willingness to eat goat meat may be damaged beyond redemption.

Please send your check or money order to:

Attn: Goat Rabies Vaccine Study/Mary Smith, DVM
c/o Office of Public Affairs
Box 39
College of Veterinary Medicine
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York 14852


Gifts to the Goat Rabies Study are tax deductible, to the extent allowed by IRS regulations.

Let's all get behind this program. Let's be responsible goat owners and keep our own house clean.

Meat Goat Mania

Important! Please Read This Notice!

All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers.

In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Suzanne Gasparotto is not a veterinarian.Neither tennesseemeatgoats.com nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.

The author, Suzanne Gasparotto, hereby grants to local goat publications and club newsletters, permission to reprint articles published on the Onion Creek Ranch website under these conditions: THE ARTICLE MUST BE REPRODUCED IN ITS ENTIRETY AND THE AUTHOR'S NAME, ADDRESS, AND CONTACT INFORMATION MUST BE INCLUDED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE REPRINT. We would appreciate notification from any clubs or publications when the articles are used. (A copy of the newsletter or publication would also be a welcome addition to our growing library of goat related information!)

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