Monday, November 24, 2014

Woman's 50+ cats being killed after kitten gets rabies

After several kittens in a litter had died, this owner took a sick kitten to the veterinarian, where it bit one of the technicians. The technician followed the law and reported the animal bite and Animal Control was called to investigate. The unvaccinated kitten was tested for rabies and was positive.

This household had some indoor cats, and some indoor/outdoor cats, and only 15 rabies vaccine certificates - one reading only "a black cat" (there were 30 black cats in the household).

There are several important things to take away from this article:

1) It is a good idea to keep copies of your pets' current and up-to-date medical or vaccination records available, and make sure that your veterinarian accurately identifies each pet in your home on their medical records.

2) If your cat bites someone and the victim needs to seek medical attention, the bite will be reported to Animal Control and an investigation will occur. Depending on the circumstances, if your pet's rabies vaccine is not up to date, this could mean that your pet will be quarantined in a special facility at your expense, or it may mean that your pet will be euthanized and tested for rabies.  In fact, depending on the inflexibility of the law, your pet may be euthanized after exposure to a rabid animal as in this case in New Hampshire in which a dog that was two weeks overdue for a rabies vaccine was euthanized after being bitten by a rabid skunk.

3) Many people develop severe infections after cat bites, so medical attention after ANY cat bite is highly recommended - even if it is your own cat! 

4) The domestic animal most commonly reported to have rabies across the United States is the cat ( 247 cats, 89 dogs, 86 cattle, 31 horses/mules, 9 sheep/goats, 3 pigs, 2 llamas in 2013). It is also the most commonly affected domestic animal in the state of Michigan. The most common wild animal to test positive for rabies in Michigan in the bat, followed by the skunk.

Closer to home, Dr. Bailey's son, Christopher, was exposed to rabies while working with a cat at a veterinary hospital in Oakland County about 5-6 years ago (not ECats), about a year after our technician, Jennifer was exposed to a rabid kitten at another hospital in Oakland County (also not ECats) in 2007. Christopher had to receive rabies prophylaxis treatment, while Jennifer only needed to be re-vaccinated, since she had been vaccinated prior to travel to Africa back in 1998. Additionally, Dr. Bailey's good friend and colleague, Dr. Michael Ray had an encounter with a rabid cat at his feline hospital in Roswell, GA, two weeks ago.

 Drs. Scott Weese and Maureen Anderson of the Ontario Veterinary College's Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses comment on the situation: Cat Hoarding and Rabies

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