Pet Owners Warned After Cat Tests Postive For Rabies In Oakland County

WWJ News
November 16, 2019 - 1:52 pm

BIRMINGHAM (WWJ) - Pet owners are reminded to have their dogs and cats vaccinated against the rabies virus after a domestic cat in Oakland County tested positive for the disease.

The Oakland County Health Division said the case was confirmed Friday in a cat that resides in Birmingham. In addition, four bats and eleven skunks in the county have tested positive for rabies this year. 

"People and their pets are urged to avoid encounters with unfamiliar animals, and keep pets protected by getting them vaccinated," Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County, said in a statement. "Rabies is a fatal disease for both humans and pets, and there is no known cure."

Having pets vaccinated regularly will protect them if exposed to animals with the disease and prevent them from becoming ill and infecting humans. Keep pets indoors, supervise when outside, and always use a leash when walking to limit their exposure to wild animals that may be rabid. Outside cats are especially vulnerable.

"Outside cats have a far greater chance of encountering a wild animal that could be sick or aggressive," Bob Gatt, manager of the Oakland County Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center, said in a statement. "Keeping your cats inside is the best way to ensure their continued safety."

If you or your household pet are bitten or scratched by a wild animal or an animal unknown to you, wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical or veterinary attention immediately, even if your animal was previously vaccinated.

The rabies virus is found in the saliva of infected animals and is spread through bites or scratches. To report potential rabies exposure, call the Health Division at 248-858-1286.

Follow these additional steps to protect yourself from rabies:

  • Keep away from unfamiliar animals, especially if they are acting strangely such as having problems swallowing, exhibiting lots of drool or saliva, appearing tamer than expected, biting at everything, and/or having trouble moving or are paralyzed.
  • Do not leave food or water outside for pets when unattended.
  • Keep garbage securely covered as these items may attract wild or stray animals.