Rabid sheep causes stir at county fair
No infected sheep ever on the fairgrounds
By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
Fair livestock exhibitors and superintendents got a little unnerved early last week when it was learned a sheep that was intended to be shown at the fair had contracted rabies.
While the rabid sheep had been put down before the fair, four pen-mates had already been brought into the livestock barns.
As soon as the owners found out the market lamb tested positive for rabies, the other four sheep were removed from the grounds.
Tests later showed that all four animals brought to fair tested negative for rabies.
The sheep were 4-H and FFA projects of the three older children of Ryan and Tonya Johnson of rural Imperial.
Mrs. Johnson said her daughter noticed the affected lamb wasn’t eating well during the week before fair.
They tried some treatments but the animal didn’t respond. Mrs. Johnson said the animal started becoming aggressive in the pen and with the other pen-mates.
This behavior, along with the eating behavior of the sheep, prompted them to call local veterinarian, Dr. Dave Johnsen, Sunday night, Aug. 15.
Together, they determined there was something wrong with the animal and decided not to take it to the fair.
The sheep was put down that evening and Johnsen decided to send the sheep’s brain to the lab at Kansas State, where rabies testing is done.
Surprisingly, the test came back positive on Tuesday, Aug. 17.
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