Rabid calf reported in Foster

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Jan 30, 2013 - 12:55 PM

A Foster farmer and his daughter are being treated with a series of rabies prevention shots after the farmer came into contact with a calf that had the disease.

Robert Respess said neither he nor his daughter had been bitten by the calf, but he was exposed when he treated the calf for what was, at the time, an unknown illness, and his daughter had possibly touched surfaces with which he and/or the calf might have come into contact.

The calf was only three months old and could have contracted the fatal illness when it was only a few days old, said Respess, since it had no marks on it to indicate it had been bitten. Respess theorized that a raccoon or opossum was probably the culprit, since an attack by a fox or coyote would have been more noticeable. The illness is not in the rest of the herd, he said.

Respess said that, since he looked in the calf’s mouth and had small nicks and cuts on his fingers, his treatment consisted of shots in his fingers and hands in addition to a series of shots in his arms and one leg. His daughter only had to have the shots in her arms and leg, he said.

Both of Respess’s daughters are usually with him when he tends his herd, he said, and when an animal gets sick, the daughter undergoing treatment "has got to be with me, trying to save it."