is a well known viral disease that is usually transmitted through bite
but can be transmitted by, any method where saliva from an infected
in contact with open cuts, wounds, or mucus membranes of the mouth,
eyes of any mammalian species, including people. Infection with this
be fatal if not treated. (3, 30, 31, 32, 33)
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is a virus that preferentially infects the central nervous system
nerves local to the initial introduction of the virus (bite wound).
initial site the virus spreads up to the brain where reproduction of
accelerates resulting in clinical signs. The virus then migrates down
salivary glands to allow for transmission to the next susceptible
animal. (31, 33)
All cases of animal bites where rabies is suspected should be immediately reported to the local health official for investigation. (3, 30)Return to top
Animals with a rabies infection can demonstrate an assortment of signs which are dependent on the location in the brain affected by the virus. The diversity of signs are grouped into the two broad categories of “dumb” or “furious”.
Cats that are described as having dumb rabies may be noticed to be depressed or attempting to hide or isolate themselves from their owners. Cats may also appear to be paralyzed in the head and neck region resulting in bizarre facial expressions or drooling that and owner will describe as abnormal, or the cat may be paralyzed in the hind-end.
The furious form of rabies is the more recognized category in the cat. It is described as being overly excited or aggressive towards anything (animals and objects) around them. Infected cats may also be noted to suddenly change behaviours from excitement to depression, and may even have episodes of eliciting self trauma. (30, 33)
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Diagnosis of rabies can only be done after the animal is dead. Sections of the brain are submitted for a direct fluorescent antibody test, which illuminates the parts of the brain that are infected. (34)
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Treatment of cats infected with rabies is not effective and should not be attempted. (3)Return to top
Rabies is a fatal disease and requires euthanasia. (3)Return to top
Rabies is completely preventable through routine vaccination.
Vaccines come in a variety of types which include recombinant, nonadjuvanted, canarypox-vectored for annual administration, and the killed adjuvanted virus, for triennial or annual administration. The use of one of these types of vaccines should be included in the core vaccines administered to domestic cats. The vaccine is more commonly administered to the right hind leg as far down as possible. This is done to aid in identification of which vaccine may have potentiated a reaction which could results in a tumor. (30, 31, 32, 33)
Kittens between the age of 12-16 weeks
Booster 1 year after initialRegular vaccination either annually or triennially depending on used vaccine
Unknown history:Cats adopted should receive vaccination prior to entering their new permanent home. (3)