For the first time in several years in Alberta, a confirmed case of rabies has been identified in a domestic cat.
On November 13, the Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer received a notification confirming the rabies case.
According to the notice, the cat was nine years old and spent time indoors and outdoors, on a farm in Longview.
Cat owners noted extreme aggressiveness in the animal, which would later bite both the owner and the owner's son who is currently seeking medical treatment to prevent further infections.
According to the website of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, this is the first documented case of rabies in a cat since 2010 in Alberta.
Alberta's public health veterinarian, Darcia Kostiuk, says that although cases of rabies are rare, there are some common factors that lead to infection.
"Circling within the bat population, and very typically, indoor and outdoor cats can easily hunt a bat. It is not surprising to see a cat catch rabies, luckily it is not so common."
According to Kostiuk, cats are not the only domestic animal at risk.
"Dogs do not usually have the same hunting behavior as cats, but dogs tend to pick up anything on the ground. Angry bats usually can not fly properly, so they will be grounded.I had dogs in the past where we tested the bat after a dog caught him in the mouth and the bat turned out to be positive, then the dog had to enter a quarantine period. "
Kostiuk says that pet owners should focus on drastic behavior changes if they suspect that their animal has been infected.
"Aggression can be common, but on the other hand an animal can also become paralyzed and comatose. Definitely, the things to look for in the beginning are any changes in personality or behavior, whether that means being more aggressive, or if that means a way out normal … animal is quiet. "
Kostiuk says the rabies virus is transmitted through the saliva of the infected host.
"Rage is a virus that has to cross the skin barrier to enter any body of mammals. Once it travels through the body, it reaches the central nervous system. It is not present in the blood but once it reaches the brain for salivary glands, and this is how the virus is transmitted, so if a wound is contaminated with saliva or a sting occurs, something has to cross the skin barrier. "
The cat involved in the case in Longview has already passed away, and Kostiuk says that once the symptoms begin to manifest, it is usually too late.
"Once an animal or a human has symptoms, there is nothing you can do, they will go through the rage. If a human is exposed to a bat in any way or manner, they should contact their public physician. "
To prevent rabies, Kostiuk recommends keeping the vaccines.
"It is so important to monitor rabies vaccines, I know that it is not always easy, but it is very important to get these vaccines and follow the schedule. Whatever the manufacturer recommends for vaccinations, the owners must follow, so that these antibodies are Ready in case the animal is exposed, I have cats that live in apartment buildings and a positive bat fell on the porch, bats enter the houses, and when they do, home cats do something about that bat. does not mean it will not be exposed. "
Kostiuk also recommends encouraging children not to touch wildlife and to ensure that any outdoor animal is supervised.
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