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Rabies in cats – Symptoms and contagion

Surely you’ve ever heard of rabies in dogs, a disease that affects all mammals and can even infect humans. Although rabies is not a very common disease in cats, it is very dangerous, since It has no cure and provokes the death of the animal.

If your cat often leaves home and is in contact with other animals you must take into account this disease, inform yourself about it and take the necessary measures to prevent it. Keep in mind that a bite from an infected animal is enough for its contagion. Discover in all about rabies in cats, symptoms and treatment.

What is feline rabies?

La feline rage is a viral infectious disease that can affect all mammals and that is caused by a family virus Rhabdoviridae. It is a serious pathology, because it causes the death of the infected animal, affecting the central nervous system causing acute encephalitis. It is also a zoonotic disease, that is, it is a disease that can be spread to humans, apart from other animals, such as dogs or rabbits.

Contagious feline rabies

La rage in cats is spread mainly through the bite of an infected animal, however, it is also possible to transmit it through scratches or licked of an open wound. It is important to note that this pathology does not arise spontaneously in the environment, but rather it is transmitted from one infected animal to another. The virus is present in the secretions and saliva of these animals, so a simple bite is enough to transmit the virus.

It is of vital importance to ensure that our pets do not come into contact with wild animals or that they are fed from infected carcasses and, at the same time, we must provide them with an adequate preventive medicine through vaccination.

Although it is an increasingly controlled disease, rabies is present in some wild animals, such as foxes and bats, although the epidemiological risk is much more common in terrestrial mammals, such as Dogs and cats, since it is more frequent to bite our cats or come in contact with them than wild animals.

Stages of rabies in cats

To better understand feline rabies and its effects on cats, we advise you to learn about the stages of rabies in cats:

  • Incubation period: it is asymptomatic, the cat does not present evident symptoms. This period varies a lot, being able to last from a week to several months. The most common is that they begin to show symptoms from the month after the infection. In this period the disease spreads throughout the body.
  • Prodromal period: Changes in behavior are already occurring in this phase. The cat is tired, with vomiting and excitability. This phase can last between two and 10 days.
  • Excitement phase or furious phase: it is the most characteristic phase of rabies. The cat is very irritable, with very sudden changes in behavior, being able to bite and attack.
  • Paralytic phase: Generalized paralysis, spasms, coma and finally death occur.

The period between phases is alterable, for this reason it is not easy to know how long a cat lives with rabies, because it may vary according to the individual. It is common to observe behavioral changes until the nervous system is very affected and seizures and other nervous problems begin.

Symptoms of feline rabies

The symptoms of rabies in cats They are variable and not all cats have the same:

  • Anomalous meows
  • Atypical behavior
  • Irritability
  • Excess salivation (drooling)
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss and appetite
  • Aversion to water
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis

Some cats do not suffer from vomiting, others do not drool excessively, and others may suffer a nervous picture and suddenly die. On the other hand, aversion or fear of water It is a symptom of animals that suffer from rabies, which is why the disease is also known as “hydrophobic”. However, cats do not like water in a general way, so it will not be an obvious symptom of disease.

Many of these symptoms, especially in the early stages, can be confused with other diseases. If your cat has any of these symptoms and has recently had a fight, go to the veterinarian as soon as possible to perform the necessary tests.

Diagnosis of rabies in cats

Suspecting that a cat may suffer feline rabies should be isolate the animal and quickly contact a veterinarian. The specialist will perform serological analysis and other relevant tests to determine whether or not the animal suffers from this viral infectious disease.

In case of death, the veterinarian will perform a Direct fluorescent antibody staining test (DFA) of the brain tissues, which shows the viral agents. In a few hours we will receive the results that will determine whether the animal suffered rabies or not.

Treatment of rabies in cats

La rabia has no treatment. Acts quickly and is lethal to cats, for this reason, if your cat has been infected, the first thing your vet will do is isolate it to prevent it from spreading to other cats. Depending on the progress of the disease, cat euthanasia is the only option.

For this reason, prevention is very important, since it is the only way to protect our cats against this disease. Pay special attention to your cat if it leaves home and is in contact with other animals. Remember that rabies affects dogs, cats, ferrets, bats and foxes. Any fight of your cat with these animals can cause a contagion.

Prevention: the rabies vaccine in cats

La rabies vaccine It is the only method of real prevention of rabies. The first dose is applied at three months of age and then annual reinforcements are applied. In general, dogs are vaccinated periodically but not cats, so you should consider if your cat is exposed to areas of risk or if it comes into contact with wild animals. If so, it is best to follow the feline vaccination schedule.

There are regions of the world with greater risk than others. In Europe, rabies is practically eradicated, but from time to time an isolated case arises. Find out about the presence of the disease in your country to be alert and prevent your cat from getting rabies. In some countries Vaccination is mandatory against rabies.

This vaccine is mandatory to go out with your cat in the country or to participate in competitions or exhibitions in Spain. But if your cat never goes outside, perhaps your veterinarian does not consider it necessary to administer it.

This article is merely informative, in .com we do not have the faculty to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Rabies in cats – Symptoms and contagion, we recommend that you enter in our section of viral diseases.

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