How Frequently Does Rabies Occur In Cats? You Need To Find Out
The viral disease known as rabies has been around for thousands of years. It is a fatal viral infection of the neurological system that is highly contagious and can infect a wide variety of warm-blooded creatures, including humans, dogs, cats, and other animals.
Rabies is responsible for the deaths of more than 30,000 people worldwide every year. Rabies is a zoonotic disease, which simply means that it can be passed from animals to humans.
Rabies is a scary viral disease; it is necessary to know how it spreads and its symptoms, particularly if you have pets. It is especially important to know how it transmits from animals to humans.
If your cat has not been vaccinated against rabies, it can contract the disease from another animal infected with the virus and has bitten it. Regrettably, no treatment is now available for pets; however, a vaccine can provide protection.
If you recognize or observe the symptoms of rabies in cats, you can swiftly determine whether or not something is wrong with a cat you come into contact with.
This will allow you to know whether or not you should keep your distance from the cat.
What Exactly Is Rabies?
Disease prevention center: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that rabies is a virus primarily passed on from diseased animal to human or animal to animal through biting.
These animals are typically wild animals that have not been immunized. Rabies is a gradual disease that affects both the peripheral and central nervous systems and always ends in death.
Rabies can be transmitted to cats by the bite of an infected animal. If an infected cat bites you, you run the risk of contracting rabies because of it.
Even though there is no treatment for rabies, there is a simple approach to keep your cat from getting it: Make sure his immunization against the disease is up to date.
What Does Cat Rabies Look Like?
A cat with rabies may display peculiar behavioral changes and specific physical symptoms. These are the things that you should keep an eye out for.
Behavior that is not typical
A sick cat may withdraw its affection or become particularly anxious and excited. Additionally, you might experience an increase in aggressiveness.
Drooling or frothing at the mouth may be present
The progression of rabies causes damage to the muscles that surround a cat’s mouth, which can lead to the cat drooling or foaming at the mouth.
Cats that are in the later stages of the infection could endure paralysis and then eventually fall into a coma before they pass away.
How Does The Rabies Virus Get Passed On To Cats
Rabies is most commonly spread through a cat’s bite once the cat has already been infected with the virus. Rabies can also be transmitted by the saliva of an infected cat, which is the second method of transmission.
The virus can survive outside the body in the saliva for up to two hours and infect other mammals if it comes into touch with a mucous membrane or an open wound.
Cats Showing Signs And Symptoms Of Rabies
After the initial bite that causes a cat to become infected, it might take up to a year for the animal to begin exhibiting symptoms of the disease. The following factors may determine the rate at which the symptoms of rabies appear:
The location where the infection is.
When a person gets bitten at a location closer to the brain and spinal cord, the virus can reach the neural tissues and begin causing symptoms much more quickly. The incubation period is prolonged proportionately to the distance between the incision and the brain.
The seriousness of the bite received.
In cats, the incubation period (the time between the infection and the development of clinical symptoms) is normally between 4 and 8 weeks; however, there is significant heterogeneity in this time frame.
The following are some of the signs and symptoms of the rabies virus:
- A sudden and drastic shift in conduct
- A previously hostile cat will eventually warm up to you, and vice versa.
- Anorexia, dread or anxiety, impatience, and hyperexcitability are all anxiety symptoms.
- A paralysis that has no known cause and seems to get worse with time.
- symptoms such as drooling, mouth saliva, and difficulty swallowing
There are three phases to the progression of rabies:
The prodromal stage is the initial 2 to 3 days of symptoms.
- Alteration in one’s personality or disposition
- When the larynx starts to spasm, a change in voice may be possible.
- Licking or scratching the bite that initiated the infection may have contributed to its spread.
- Cats that were previously calm become disturbed and perhaps violent.
- Even outgoing cats might have a reserved or anxious demeanor.
The Exciting or Furious Stage is the next is 1 to 7 days
- This period is referred to as the “crazy dog” stage.
- Do not be afraid, and you may have an illusion (when a rabid cat poses the greatest danger to humans and other animals)
- becoming more nervous, irritated, and violent by the minute
- If the rabid cat is confined, it will frequently try to bite through the cage’s bars.
The Paralytic Stage is the final stage, which is 2 to 4 days
- A state of weakness and paralysis sets in.
- Because of the paralysis of the larynx, the cat is unable to swallow, which results in excessive drooling and foaming at the mouth.
- When the muscles that govern respiration progressively become paralyzed, it only takes a few hours for a person to pass away.
Rabies is difficult to diagnose in living animals because its early stages are often confused with those of another disease or with aggressive tendencies in general.
This makes the disease difficult to detect. Examining the brain of the animal that has passed away is the only way to establish whether or not the rabies virus was present.
How Did My Cat Become Infected With Rabies?
Rabies is typically transmitted to cats by the bite of an already sick animal. The virus, carried in the victim’s saliva, enters the host’s tissues and attaches itself to the local muscles for a few days.
After that, it infiltrates the local nerves and begins its gradual ascent to the brain. At this stage, the virus is more detectable in all of the fluids produced by the body, including saliva.
The Process Of Identifying Rabies In Cats
It can be challenging to determine whether or not a cat has the rabies virus, particularly in regions where the disease is not usually prevalent.
It is now impossible to test for the virus in any animal still alive. Thus the only way to get a completely correct diagnosis is to examine the brain tissue of an animal that has already passed away.
If rabies is suspected or a cat exhibiting rabies signs passes away unexpectedly, your veterinarian may recommend testing. There are a few general measures that should be taken:
- If a cat exhibits or develops any signs of rabies, the animal must be examined by a licensed veterinarian and reported to the local health department as soon as possible. It is extremely suggested that humane euthanasia be performed.
- Suppose an unvaccinated cat bites a person or another animal and the cat’s vaccination status is unknown. In that case, the cat should be confined for ten days and kept under observation at all times.
Once clinical signs of rabies have appeared, an infected cat can pass on the disease to another animal. Because the cat was not shedding the rabies virus at the time of the bite, the cat couldn’t have transmitted the disease through the bite.
If the cat is still much alive or is not showing any clinical symptoms of rabies after the 10-day period of observation, then the bite could not have transmitted the disease.
If your cat is bitten by a wild animal or another stray cat, you should keep the cat indoors for six months. Suppose your cat is not vaccinated and was bitten by an animal highly suspected of having rabies.
In that case, the health department or animal control may recommend that your cat be humanely put to sleep.
On the other hand, the course of action that will be advised will likely be a series of rabies vaccinations to avoid post-exposure infection, followed by a period of quarantine.
Rabies Prevention And Treatment For Cats
Sadly, no treatment is available for a cat that has been infected with rabies and is exhibiting symptoms of the disease.
Seek emergency medical attention if you or your cat have been bitten by an animal that is thought to have rabies, and there is a possibility that the rabies virus has been transmitted to you or your cat.
To reiterate, there is no treatment available once the symptoms of the infection begin to appear. If your cat has been bitten, then your veterinarian might perform one or more of the following preventative measures:
Medication. A cat who may have been exposed to the rabies virus may be recommended to receive one or more rabies vaccinations.
In addition, the risk of infection can be reduced by immediately disinfecting any bite wounds that have been sustained. However, you should never try cleaning or disinfecting wounds at home without consulting a veterinary professional.
Booster. Vaccinated cats receive a booster vaccine, and depending on the area’s rules, they may be required to remain in quarantine for a predetermined amount of time. You should discuss the possibility of a home quarantine with your veterinarian.
Humane euthanasia. The most popular recommendation by veterinarians for cats whose rabies vaccination status is not up to date and who are likely exposed to infection is to have them compassionately put to sleep.
Suppose an owner refuses to have their animal put to sleep, and the local health authority or animal control allows it. In that case, the animal will be placed under a stringent and protracted quarantine that will often last for at least six months or more.
The following are some of the typical requirements for a home quarantine:
- The cat should only interact with one or two humans (and no children or other animals, even other pets).
- It is important to restrict the cat’s access to the outside world by housing it in an enclosed space.
- Quickly notify your veterinarian as soon as possible if you see any strange behavior in your cat or if it bites a person or another animal.
Cats that have not been vaccinated and bitten by wild animals or that exhibit evidence of being bitten by an animal of unknown origin must spend six months in isolation.
The incubation period for rabies is typically less than six months (generally four to six weeks, but it can be as long as six months), so a long isolation period is put in place to ensure that the cat does contact rabies before it is allowed to have regular contact with people and other animals once more.
Is there Any Treatment For Rabies That Can Be Given To Cats?
Once the symptoms of rabies have appeared, no treatment can reverse the effects of the disease. A vaccination that is given to your cat after it has been bitten, has the potential to protect it from developing rabies.
Is Rabies That Affects Cats Contagious To People Or Other Animals?
When an infected animal bites a human or another animal, there is a risk of contracting the disease known as rabies.
Rabies infection is most likely to occur in cats that have not been vaccinated, especially domestic house cats that are let to roam freely outside the home.
How Much Does It Cost To Treat Rabies In Cats?
There is no set price for the treatment of rabies in cats. Consider the following factors:
- Your geographical location.
- The expense associated with the vaccination itself
- The cost of the visit to the office
If you are ordered to put your cat into quarantine, you will be charged a fee every day the animal is locked up. If you fail to vaccinate your cat as required by the legislation in your area, you may be subject to a fine.
Recovery From Rabies And Management Of The Rabies In Cats
If a wild animal that cannot be tested bites a cat, it is reasonable to assume that it has been exposed to rabies.
Any unvaccinated cat that has been exposed to rabies should be terminated as soon as possible in a humane manner, according to the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians.
Suppose the owner is unwilling to have the cat put down. In that case, the cat must be quarantined for six months, during which it cannot come into contact with other animals or humans.
It must receive vaccinations one month before the conclusion of the isolation period.
Even if the cat that was exposed had a current rabies vaccination, it should still be revaccinated right away and monitored for 45 days to ensure that it does not develop rabies.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has established stringent standards to restrict the spread of rabies among dog populations, and these guidelines are also applicable to cat populations.
These guidelines consist of the following:
- Notification to the relevant health authorities of any suspected cases
- Euthanasia in a humane manner of animals that are showing symptoms of the disease or have been bitten by animals that are suspected of having rabies
- The use of quarantine to reduce interaction between animals at risk
- Immunization programs that incorporate ongoing booster shots
- Elimination of stray animals
Preventing The Risk Of Rabies In Cats
There are a few different preventative measures that you may do to help keep your cat safe from rabies.
- Make sure your cat is vaccinated and that you are up-to-date on its future rabies shots, as well as schedule frequent appointments with your veterinarian. It is important to check with your veterinarian regularly to ensure that your cat’s rabies vaccinations are up to date. The frequency with which states mandate rabies vaccinations for cats might vary.
- If at all feasible, you should keep your cat indoors and keep an eye on it. Rabies is more likely to be transmitted to outdoor cats because they are more likely to come into contact with wild animals.
- Your contribution to reducing the overpopulation of cats can be maximized by having your pet spayed or neutered.
- If you find stray animals wandering around the area, you should report them to animal control since they may be sick or have not been vaccinated, making them a possible risk to your pet.
- If you come across any wild creatures that are acting unusually tame, you should get in touch with animal control (particularly raccoons, foxes, or skunks). Rabies is commonly diagnosed when normally timid wild animals display an absence of fear. You are not allowed to pet, stroke, or engage in any other interaction with these creatures, no matter how cute they may be. Although rabbits and other rodents (such as squirrels, mice, and rats) seldom contract rabies, they can carry other diseases transferable to humans, dogs, and cats. Rabies is a fatal disease.
- Because bats frequently carry rabies, you should never handle or pick up a bat under any circumstances. You should immediately contact your local veterinarian if you discover your cat interacting with a bat, whether alive or dead.
Vaccination is the most effective method we have for avoiding rabies.
The United States Department of Agriculture and wildlife services came up with the idea to create the National Rabies Management Program to try to stop the spread of rabies among wild animals and, eventually, get rid of the disease that affects humans on land in the United States.
The program will focus on vaccinating wild animals against rabies through oral vaccine administration.
How Often Do Cats Suffer From Rabies?
Although rabies in cats is not as common as it once was, it is vital to be aware of the signs if you come into contact with an infected cat.
According to the CDC, approximately 250 cases of rabid cats are reported each year. The vast majority of those cats have not been vaccinated, and as a result, they have contracted rabies by coming into contact with wild animals like raccoons and skunks.
How Long Before The Symptoms Of Rabies Appear In Cats?
The incubation period for rabies in cats can last anywhere from two weeks to many months; in some cases, it might even last for years.
The only test that can detect rabies involves a sample taken from the brain of a deceased animal; unfortunately, there is no technique to test a living animal for the disease.
What To Do In Case Your Cat’s Bitten
If you believe another animal has bitten your cat, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Your veterinarian may treat the wound and give your cat a booster shot of his rabies vaccine to further improve his defenses against the virus.
Suppose your cat has never received a rabies vaccination in the past but is known to have been bitten by a rabid animal.
In that case, your veterinarian may suggest euthanizing your cat or confining him in a quarantine facility for several months to determine whether or not your cat has become infected with the disease.
Rabies is not usually transmitted through a bite because the virus is not always present in the saliva of an infected animal. If, on the other hand, your cat begins to show signs of illness, it is very guaranteed that he will pass away.
Your veterinarian may recommend euthanizing your cat to save the animal any further pain and ensure the well-being of the people in your home.
If you are bitten by any animal which might be infected with rabies, it is critical that you quickly wash the wound and contact a medical professional.
Your physician may advise you to undergo postexposure prophylaxis, which entails receiving several rabies shots in succession.
Is There A Rabies Vaccine For Cats?
Rabies may be prevented with a vaccine, which is why it is required in most states for cats that are kept as pets.
The immunization is administered to kittens between the ages of 12 and 20 weeks (the minimum age for rabies vaccination varies from state to state, so always check with your veterinarian).
After one year has passed since the initial vaccination, a booster dose is given. Afterward, booster shots are administered anywhere from once to every three years, depending on the type of vaccination that was administered and the laws of your state.
Even while immunizations have significantly reduced the frequency of rabies cases in cats, unprotected strays continue to be a danger to other animals and people.
Rabies is a lethal disease that can be transmitted both by wild animals and by domestic pets that have not been vaccinated.
Keeping your cat’s immunizations and booster shots up to date is the most effective way to avoid rabies, which is a fortunate development given that there is currently no treatment available for the disease after it has been infected.
Ensure That All Your Pets’ Vaccines Are Up To Date
Rabies vaccinations must be administered to cats and dogs belonging to owners in most states. Because the regulations can differ, it is important to verify with your vet.
In addition, getting your pet vaccinated is a requirement at most boarding and grooming establishments.
The rabies vaccines are completely risk-free and effective, and there is no possibility that your cat will become infected with rabies as a direct result of receiving one of these shots.
Although infrequent, modest adverse effects like drowsiness and appetite suppression may occur, they are very temporary in most cases.
Vaccinations are necessary to ensure the well-being and protection of your cat. If you have difficulties affording the rabies vaccination for your cat, then talk to your veterinarian about your options.
It is possible to receive financial aid, and most animal shelters in the area host free rabies vaccination clinics open to the general public.
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