Rabies is a very feared disease. This is because it is fatal in almost all cases. Furthermore, it can be transmitted from animals to humans. In some countries the cat is one of the species that can infect people.
It is a disease distributed worldwide, although in many countries it has been controlled thanks to the development and extension of vaccination programs . Depending on our place of residence, it will be mandatory or not to vaccinate our cat.
You may also be interested in: Vaccination calendar for cats
What is rabies?
Rabies is an infectious viral disease caused by a virus from the Rhabdoviridae family . It is a zoonosis, which means that animals can transmit it to humans . It can affect all warm-blooded ones. The contagion occurs only through infected animals, since they eliminate the virus through saliva.
This elimination of the virus occurs before symptoms begin. The incubation period is highly variable. It ranges from two weeks to several months. This is because it depends on where the inoculation was, that is, where the bite or scratch occurred. The greater the distance from the central nervous system, the longer the incubation time.
It is rare in our environment for a cat to become infected with rabies. Bats are known to be a source of contagion, although the risk is low. Anger can manifest itself in two ways, called furious and dumb . The first is the most common in cats. On the other hand, humans who get sick often do so from infected dogs.
Symptoms of rabies in kittens
The rabies virus affects the central nervous system of the infected animal. This causes different alterations that will manifest at the neurological level. All of them are serious, to the point that they end up causing the death of the cat.
The following symptoms stand out:
- Aggression, unexplained behavior changes.
- Reduction or absence of palpebral, corneal and pupillary reflexes. Anisocoria, which is the difference in the size of the pupils. Squint.
- Hanging jaw. Sialorrhea or excessive production of saliva.
- Seizures, muscle spasms. Tremors
- Wandering without any destination. Lack of coordination.
- Exaggerated reactions to sensations such as fear, anger, sensitivity to light, etc.
- Eat. Death due to respiratory arrest, which usually occurs in just 3-4 days.
How is rabies diagnosed?
Confirmation of the disease takes place post mortem. This requires a sample of tissue from the brain. Given the seriousness of this pathology, if we suspect that a cat has contracted rabies, we must isolate it and inform the veterinarian immediately.
Treatment for rabies
Due to the characteristics of rabies, animals suspected of being ill are not treated . This is intended to protect public health, then, remember, we are facing a zoonosis, which, in addition, has a very high mortality rate.
Regarding the disinfection of the environment, it is possible to destroy this virus using physical agents such as heat and ultraviolet rays. But, also, chemicals such as lime, detergents, bleach, chlorine or iodine can be used.
How to prevent rabies
The star measure against rabies is vaccination. If prevention is always more important than cure, in the case of rabies it becomes the only option. For cats, an inactivated vaccine is used, above all, which manages to provide them with very good protection . Cats can receive the first dose of this vaccine at an early age.
Specifically, its administration is recommended between 12 and 16 weeks of life. The vet will inform us. It is necessary to revaccinate according to the legislation of our locality of residence. Therefore, although some vaccines manage to confer immunity even for three years , the law may require us to repeat the dose every twelve months.
In addition to the recommendation to vaccinate animals against this disease, if we live or travel to a country where rabies is a problem, for example, India, we must act with caution. This means not coming into contact with stray cats. Although they appear healthy, they can be infected, so it is a risk to handle them.
The rabies vaccine
As for the vaccine, we must know that it is very effective, but the only way to guarantee that the animal is perfectly protected is through a blood test. This is what explains why some countries request the result of this analysis.
In this way they make sure that the animal is healthy. They are destinations like the UK or those where rabies is endemic. If we travel with our dog to certain places, it may be necessary for us to do the analysis when returning home.