|Updated: 12/14/2012 11:13 am
||Published: 12/14/2012 11:03 am
CONWAY, AR -The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) has confirmed that a cat has tested positive for rabies in Conway. This 10-12 week-old kitten was found on the grounds of the Conway Human Development Center at 150 E Siebenmorgan Rd.
Rabid dogs and cats can potentially transmit rabies in their saliva seven to 10 days before there are any symptoms of rabies. The Arkansas Department of Health wants anyone who may have had contact with this kitten or any other feral kitten or cat to call their doctor for evaluation. The Human Development Center is very close to the Towne Center shopping area as well as Hendrix College.
Many people feed feral cats with the intent of helping them, but this is not a good practice. They breed, multiply and become a nuisance. Feeding also attracts wild animals, including skunks, to the area. More than likely, this kitten was bitten by a rabid skunk.
Arkansas state law requires all dogs and cats to be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Anyone feeding feral cats is considered the owner of them and is required to have them vaccinated.
Children especially should be reminded not to touch wild animals and to stay away from stray pets.
According to Susan Weinstein, DVM, state public health veterinarian, failure to vaccinate cats and dogs often has negative results.
“Whenever a cat or dog gets rabies, there are always people exposed to the animal, and individuals must have a series of preventive shots so that they do not get rabies,” Weinstein said. “This is very expensive and time consuming.”
In Arkansas, rabies occurs in the wild in skunks and bats. Rabies is a virus that attacks the brain and spinal cord and is a fatal disease. It is most often seen in animals such as skunks, bats and foxes. Cats, dogs, ferrets and livestock can also develop rabies, especially if they are not vaccinated.
In 2011, Arkansas had 60 rabies positive animals, including 53 skunks, six bats and one cat. So far in 2012, the state has had 101 skunks, 22 bats, two cows, three dogs, one horse and now one cat test positive for rabies. At 130 rabid animals for the year, the state has more than doubled the normal yearly average of 47 rabid animals.
For more information, call the Faulkner County Health Unit at 501-450-4941 or Susan Weinstein, DVM, state public health veterinarian, at 501- 280-4136.