Feral Cat Found in New Jersey Tests Positive for Rabies in Manhattan Veterinary Hospital
Central Veterinary Associates is urging cat owners to have their pets vaccinated for rabies, not only to ensure their pet’s health, but because it is mandated by New York City and New York State law. This comes after a stray kitten had tested positive for rabies.
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) recently reported that a stray kitten that was seen at a veterinary hospital in Manhattan on August 21 tested positive for rabies. The kitten was found in a parking lot in Livingston, New Jersey.
While it was being examined, the kitten — which exhibited signs of illness as the result of being infected — was lying down and not sitting up, had tremors and was easily agitated. It also bit one of the veterinarians before it died. Results showed the kitten was positive for rabies. Investigations by both the NYC DOHMH and the New Jersey Department of Health showed that eight people were either bitten by or exposed to the animal.
According to the Mayo Clinic, rabies is a deadly virus that is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected animal. The NYC DOMHM reported that, so far this year, 10 animals (eight in the Bronx and two from Manhattan) tested positive for rabies. Since 1992, when raccoon rabies first appeared in New York City, there have been 13 cats that have tested positive for rabies, eleven of which were strays.
The signs or symptoms of rabies are not detected until the disease is in its later stages, often days before death, the Mayo Clinic states. Signs and symptoms may include fever, headache, agitation, anxiety, confusion, difficulty swallowing, excessive salivation, hydrophobia (fear of water) because of the difficulty in swallowing, hallucinations, insomnia and partial paralysis.
It is important that all cat owners in the metropolitan New York area vaccinate their pets for rabies, not just for their pet’s health but because it is required under New York City and New York State law. Feral cats spend a lot of time outdoors and, during that time, they may encounter and be bitten by another animal that may be infected. If it is suspected that a pet has come into contact with an infected animal, the owner should contact their veterinarian immediately.