Sonoma County Department of Health Services has determined that a pet cat in the Glen Ellen area had rabies, the first domestic animal in the county to test positive since the 1990′s.
The cat, which was unvaccinated, was taken to a veterinarian Monday for strange and aggressive behavior. The cat’s owners have received post-exposure preventative care.
Animal Care and Control visited the neighborhood where the cat lived and notified neighbors of a possible risk of exposure to rabies if they had any contact with the cat. Both people and pets were evaluated for risk of exposure and referred appropriately for care.
“This incident serves as an important reminder that rabies is still present in our animal populations, and sporadic cases in domestic animals can still occur,” said Karen Holbrook, deputy health officer.
Rabies is not increasing in Sonoma County, and no human cases have occurred in recent years in the County, Holbrook said. Bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes are most often affected in California, but all mammals can become infected. People should not pet or touch wild animals, including feral cats.
Vaccination of pets is essential to protect their health and their owner’s health as well. State law requires vaccination of all dogs and it is strongly recommended that cats also be vaccinated.
“The importance of vaccinating cats can be seen from this episode,” Holbrook stated. “If your pet is not current in its rabies vaccinations and encounters a rabid animal it will be recommended to be euthanized.
VIP PetCare will offer $5 canine and feline rabies vaccinations for the next three weeks at each of its Community Veterinary Clinics in Sonoma County. See Theanimalshelter.org for clinic times and locations.