Concern Over Rabies Should Not Be Confused With Panic
Posted June 13, 2002 1:54 a.m. EDT
CARY, N.C. — Cary animal control is dealing with its
second rabid cat
in two weeks. The cat that attacked two people Monday at Hidden Oaks apartments tested positive for rabies Tuesday.
Animal control officials said the calico cat showed obvious signs something was wrong.
"They're acting aggressive, a lot of saliva, they're running in circles acting clumsy, falling down a lot," said Michelle Belanger of Cary Animal Control.
Belanger caught the rabid cat and said you cannot always tell an animal is sick. She said you should call animal control if you see any roaming animals that do not appear to have an owner.
"All they're doing is rebreeding and if the mom or dad has rabies, then they play, lick or bite the kittens. Then they turn up getting rabies and it keeps spreading, spreading and spreading, so the best thing to do is start trapping them before the problem gets way out of hand," she said.
Rabies in humans is deadly if it is not treated. The treatment consists of a series of five shots over a 28-day period with one at the site of the bite. However, the cost for the treatment can be between $5,000 to $8,000.
"That's an expensive lesson to learn rather than paying $5 for a rabies vaccination for your dog," said Jay Levine of the N.C. State College of Veterinary Medicine.
In April, animal control officers found a bat inside Kelly Schroedl's house. Officials discovered the
was rabid. She was required to have four shots, a hemoglobin booster in each hip and then a rabies vaccine in each hip. Her home was quarantined for 30 days.
Belanger said all your pets should be vaccinated against rabies.
"Their household pet, they feel, doesn't need a rabies vaccine because it doesn't go outside and that's not true because bats can come into your house and bats carry rabies, and then that animal that has not been outside can also get rabies," she said.
A pet vaccination lasts one year and the follow-up shot lasts three years. No one in North Carolina has died from rabies since 1953.