According to the Perth District Health Unit (PDHU), the cow, located in Elma Ward – which includes Atwood, Britton, Donegal, Gotham, Newry and Trowbridge – was located on a working dairy farm.
It’s the third case of rabid animals in Perth County in three years. Another cow and a skunk tested positive between December 2015 and April 2016.
Officials say the infected cow likely came into contact with another rabid animal.
“The cow was most likely in contact with a rabid wild animal, such as a skunk or fox,” said Dale Lyttle, senior public health inspector, in a release. “The positive result continues to remind us that rabies is still present in Perth County.”
Despite the cow being rabid, so long as the milk it produced is pasteurized, it’s safe for human consumption.
“Milk that has been heat pasteurized presents no risk for rabies virus transmission,” says the PDHU release.
The release says Dairy Farmers of Ontario is working with the farmer to “manage milk from the farm and to protect the public from any health risks.' The farmer is also working with OMAFRA to “implement a Precautionary Confinement Period for other cows that were in the group with the infected animal.”
According to the Ontario government’s website “rabies can’t be treated in livestock. Once signs of rabies appear, the animal will die.”
Symptoms of rabies can include aggressive, dull or depressed behaviour, strange noises and weakness in the hindquarters.