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Rabies Virus, qPCR - Equigerminal

Rabies Virus qPCR

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Pathogen test 

  • The qPCR test detects the genome (DNA) of Rabies virus.


  • 1 swab - saliva - dry swab
  • 5mL - blood - K3 EDTA tube
  • 5mL - liquor (CSF) - sterile tube

Turnaround time

  • 2 to 5 working days


What is Rabies?

  •  Rabies is a virus that causes a neurological disease that can affect all mammals. When an animal is bitten, the virus migrates to the brain where it causes inflammation, known as encephalitis. It is rapidly progressive and invariably fatal.
  • The incubation period – the time between the virus’ entry into the body and the onset of clinical signs – averages 2 to 9 weeks, but may be as long as 15 months.

Clinical signs

  • Clinical signs can be subtle and could include:
  • Sudden change in behaviour (depression to manic);
  • Lameness or being unable to rise;
  • Head-pressing and circling;
  • Pain or difficulty urinating;
  • Muscle tremors or convulsions;
  • Persistent and painful erection in absence of sexual interest;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Appearance of choke;
  • Neurologic signs such as incoordination and paralysis; and
  • Sudden death can also be seen on occasion.


  • We see an increased incidence of rabies infections in horses and other livestock in the late summer and fall when wildlife populations peak. Horses contract rabies through the bite of an infected (rabid) animal, such as a raccoon, fox, skunk or bat. A horse’s curiosity can get the best of him, with bites typically occurring on the horse’s face and muzzle or lower limbs. Most exposures aren’t noticed and most bite wounds aren’t found. Since wildlife may enter barns (especially at night), both horses in stalls and those on pasture are at risk of exposure.
  • Due to the serious threat for human exposure when handling a horse with rabies, any suspected case of equine rabies should be handled as if it were positive until proven otherwise. You may become infected with the rabies virus through contact with saliva or brain/nervous system tissue from a rabid animal. Individuals who have been in contact with a horse since the onset of clinical signs should immediately consult with their physician regarding medical treatment.


  • Horse owners can take advantage of some basic husbandry practices and good common sense to help reduce the risk factors that can contribute to disease incidence. One thing that all of us can do is to keep our feed storage areas neat and clean. Untidy areas with spilled feed invites unwanted guests such as opossums. 
  • Keep your feed in sealed or closed containers.
  • Cover your hay storage area if possible.
  • Keep rodents under control on your property.
  • Discourage visits by opossums.
  • Check with local authorities with respect to trapping and relocating opossums or eliminating them.
  • Properly dispose of any animal carcasses that you may see on or near your property.
  • Clean your equine water sources on a regular basis.
  • Do not feed on the ground.
  • When transporting horses, make them as comfortable as possible.