November 23, 2012 by Mark Gillespie from the Livingston County News.
The New York State Department of Health reports that a feral cat found in the Town of York has tested positive for rabies.
The animal appeared to be in ill health and was rescued by an individual who took it to a veterinarian for treatment, according to Livingston County Public Health Director Joan Ellison.
The cat died at the vet’s office and its body sent in for laboratory testing Nov. 14. In light of the recent positive rabies result, three people are undergoing treatment to prevent the onset of the virus.
Feral cats create a potential for exposure to rabies that does not exist in other animals that are known to possibly have rabies. Feral cats can look and act just like a pet cat but they are wild animals and are unpredictable. They can bite at any time. The following tips from the Livingston County Health Department will help prevent rabies and potential rabies exposure:
- A cat with rabies may not exhibit the typical symptoms of rabies. It may be aggressive, but it may also be acting very passive. Just because a cat looks harmless and is cute does not mean it is not rabid.
- Livingston County is very rural, with populations of bats and raccoons that have rabies. Most cats, even domesticated ones, are hunters by nature and can come into contact with a bat or raccoon, and no one will ever know. All pet cats are required to be vaccinated against rabies.
- Teach children to stay away from unfamiliar animals, either wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
- Wash any wound from an animal thoroughly with soap and water, and seek medical attention immediately. Additionally, the LCDOH must then be notified of any exposure incident.
- Be a responsible pet owner by keeping your pet’s vaccinations current. Getting your pets vaccinated can help stop the spread of rabies from wild animals to humans.
If you have any questions or would like further information on rabies, or rabies vaccination requirements, please contact the Livingston County Department of Health at 243-7280 or 335-1717.