Cat here had rabies: Officials seeking those who may have had contact with itAn orange and white female tabby found near the Tesoro gas station Nov. 30 had rabies, and anyone bitten or exposed to the saliva of the cat should contact health authorities immediately.
By: Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun
An orange and white female tabby found near the Tesoro gas station Nov. 30 had rabies, and anyone bitten or exposed to the saliva of the cat should contact health authorities immediately.
“If anybody is aware of what might have happened to this cat, who the cat might belong to, or where it might have come from” they should call the North Dakota Department of Health at 800-472-2180, said Kirby Kruger, director of the division of disease control with the Health Department.
Officials are uncertain who owned the cat and whether the cat was from Jamestown or had been dropped off in town. The long-haired adult cat was declawed, according to a press release from the Health Department.
A local animal control officer picked up the tabby on Nov. 30, near the Tesoro gas station located at 2015 Eighth Ave. SW in Jamestown.
“They reported that it wasn’t acting right, so they took it to a veterinarian’s office right away, and the animal was euthanized and sent to us right away … for testing,” Kruger said.
Rabies is a virus affecting mammals, including people, but also dogs and cats and wildlife such as skunks, raccoons and bats. It is transmitted through biting as well as through saliva contact with open cuts or wounds and mucous membranes.
It is almost invariably fatal, but can be prevented through a vaccine after exposure. About one to three people die in the U.S. every year from rabies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Rabies has a long incubation period, but the sooner treatment starts the better.
“If you can provide treatment before symptoms develop, you can usually avert rabies,” Kruger said.
According to the CDC, post-exposure care generally includes one dose of immune globulin and four doses of rabies vaccine over 14 days. The vaccines are administered in the arm, and are relatively painless.
If a pet that’s been vaccinated against rabies was exposed to the tabby, that pet should receive a booster vaccine. If it hasn’t been vaccinated, the pet will have to go through a strict six-month quarantine or be euthanized, Kruger said.
“That’s why we really preach the importance of keeping your pet up to date” on vaccinations, he added.
In North Dakota, the ultimate source of rabies is generally skunks, which serve as a reservoir for the virus. However, the tabby could also have come into contact with a dog, cat or other animal with the virus, Kruger said.
The Health Department issues rabies alerts very seldom. The last one Kruger remembered focused on a dog in an animal shelter in Grand Forks in 2009.
Anyone with information about the tabby should immediately call 800-472-2180.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453
or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org