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What are Rabies?

Rabies is a viral infection of the central and peripheral nervous system in a feline. Rabies is a zoonotic disease that is found worldwide among carnivores and other mammals. This fatal disease is passed through the saliva of an infected animal with initial signs of a disturbance in the central nervous system. An infected feline will go through three symptomatic phases as the disease surges through the body. The feline will go from displaying a shy behavior to aggressive within ten days, dying after day ten from the initial sign of infection. Almost all infected animals die after being infected with the rabies virus, but a feline could survive if the pet owner takes the cat to seek veterinary consultation before the virus reaches the nervous system.

Rabies is a viral disease that mainly affects carnivores, but can affect all mammals, including people. The rabies virus is actively spread through the saliva of an infected pet, transmittable through bites or scratches. In the United States, wildlife including; raccoons, skunk, fox, and bats are common vectors of the disease. However, stray dogs and cats are also carriers of the disease, as confrontation with wildlife is the norm. Rabies symptoms can appear as early as ten days after the feline was bitten and as late as a year. The virus affects the brain and nervous system, with initial signs of change in behavior. Rabies is a fatal, incurable disease that can easily infect humans if the proper precautions are not taken.  

Rabies Average Cost

From 307 quotes ranging from $200 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,000

Symptoms of Rabies in Cats

Rabies attacks the brain, resulting in rather distinctive behavioral changes. From the initial sign of a rabies infection, your feline will go through a prodromal stage, a furious rabies or “mad-dog” stage, and finally a paralytic stage. Each of the three stages is characterized by different symptoms, as the virus slowly makes its way to the brain and turns the housecat into a vicious feline. 

Stage 1: Prodromal Stage 

In the prodromal stage, the feline will change her temperament and become the complete opposite of her normal self. For instance, an active, happy feline will suddenly become shy and nervous. The feline may hide, lose interest in food, and become irritable or suddenly hyperactive. In the wild, a species that are normally nocturnal (sleep during the day) are seen wandering the streets in the daytime and become friendly with people. 

Stage 2: Furious Rabies or “Mad-Dog” Stage

In the furious rabies stage, the feline becomes overly aggressive, baring her teeth and claws at the slightest provocation. The feline will be continuously alert with pupils fully dilated. Light, noise and movement will trigger a cat in the second stage of rabies to attack. Furious rabies is often called the “mad-dog” stage because the feline will look like she has gone mad. Continuous drooling, widened eyes, muscle spasms and aggressive behavior are the most prominent signs of stage 2 rabies. Stage 2 rabies is extremely dangerous for humans and it is during this stage that people are commonly infected. 

Stage 3: Paralytic Stage 

The paralytic stage is noted within seven days after the initial stage of rabies and is characterized by the inability to move the muscles of the jaw or throat. The feline will display obvious symptoms of excessive salivation, cannot swallow, and its level of aggression will stoop into depression. The paralysis will slowly move from the throat and jaw to the remaining portions of the body, resulting in death within a matter of hours. 

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Causes of Rabies in Cats

Rabies in cats is caused by a bite or scratch to an unvaccinated feline by an infected animal. Carnivores are common vectors of the rabies virus as nature has given these mammals sharp teeth and claws to pierce the skin. Raccoons, bats, skunks, fox, and feral animals are common reserves for this viral disease.

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Diagnosis of Rabies in Cats

If your cat has been bitten by an animal that you suspect might carry the rabies virus or is displaying symptoms associated with rabies, but your cat is not displaying these symptoms, he/she will be quarantined for a ten day period. It is important to inform the veterinarian of the state of the animal that bit your cat as immediate treatment may be necessary. The veterinarian will review your feline’s medical record, paying close attention to when her last rabies vaccination was administered. After the 10 day quarantine, the vet will reevaluate the cat and decide if she has been infected.  

If your cat is displaying symptoms associated with rabies, the diagnosis can be difficult as early symptoms associated with rabies can be confused with a number of other common feline health concerns. The only true way of diagnosing rabies is by a direct examination of the cat’s brain. The feline will have to be euthanized to perform a post-mortem antibody test using immunofluorescent dyes. 

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Treatment of Rabies in Cats

If you witnessed a rabid animal bite or scratch your cat, and you brought her into the veterinary clinic immediately, there is a possibility for treatment. Just like in people who have been bitten by a rabid animal, if the virus has not reached the nervous system an anti-rabies vaccine can be administered. The anti-rabies vaccine is a group of antibodies that are injected into the body and encourage the immune system to produce antigens to fight the circulating virus. The anti-rabies virus is not always effective and cannot be given to cats that have bitten a human, as the vaccine can mask rabies symptoms.

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Recovery of Rabies in Cats

The majority of cats affected by rabies are euthanized or die on their own, which is why the World Health Association has made rabies a core vaccination. A core vaccination is a vaccine that is required by law to be administered to pets. Vaccinating your cat against the rabies virus and keeping wildlife away from your pet are the only ways you can prevent rabies from infected your feline.

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Rabies Average Cost

From 307 quotes ranging from $200 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,000

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Rabies Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Tuxedo

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Cat

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4 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Spacey Stares
Restless Tail Flicking
Hyper Attentiveness

My cat started acting strange about half hour ago. It started off with him biting at my hand while I was petting him. He would try to pull away but still came back to bite me. Not very hard. Later, he awkwardly rested his face in my hand and then snipped at me hand. He stares off into space and keeps licking certain spots on his body. Like chest, supper arm, and feets.

Sept. 30, 2017

Tuxedo's Owner


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1 Recommendations

Strange behaviour and neurological symptoms may be indicative of head trauma, infections or poisoning; keep a close eye on him to see if any other symptoms develop. It is difficult to say what could be happening with him, but if the behaviour gets worse or you notice twitching or other symptoms you should have him checked by your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Sept. 30, 2017

I was bitten by my cat but shes still alive and well after 10 days. Do i still need to be treated by anti rabies

Feb. 8, 2018

Electrickatanaguy ..

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Mittens

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Taby

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2 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Mouth Salivation

This morning while I was sitting at my table my cat was moving her jaw like she chewing something and then foam started coming out of her mouth. While she was chewing she was making a kind of slapping sound with her jaw and then that's where the foam happened. After that I put her outside and I dont know if that was the best idea. I hope you can help.

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ITALIA

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DOMESTIC

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6 Weeks

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Hissing, Temporary Blindness,

We found a stray kitten that appeared abandoned approx 2 weeks ago. She is a very sweet cuddly girl. When we found her she appeared at be about 4 weeks old. She appeared in good health, no bites or anything visible. It appeared she was probably nursing because she was looking for something to suck on. Approximately 4 evenings ago my daughter who sleeps in the same room told me that she was acting a little different and didn’t sleep with her as she had been. Then the following morning I went in to feed her and noticed that her chin seemed like it was previously wet and dried, I thought it was water as she is longer haired. I gave her food and left for the day. When I came home I went up to feed her and when I walked in the door she ran over to me and up my leg which was a little different. I gave her her food and she seemed like she could not see the bowl. Then she kept stepping on bowl and food. She then would have moments where she would stand still in a position like she had to go to the bathroom. During this she would shake. If you tried to touch her in this short period of time she would hiss. This would pass and the. She wanted to be on your lap. These would continue to happen in and off. I talked to vet and he told me to try honey maybe it was low blood sugar. Unfortunately that did not help. We decided then to take her to the vet. When we got there she was blind. I think she was losing sight through the evening and was scared. When I went to take her out of carrier to put honey in mouth she scratched me and my daughter and bit my finger. Nothing bled and it was very small bite mark because she has tiny teeth. Since then she has been at the vet. She was having seizures. The morning after we brought her to vet some of her vision returned. They did all kinds of blood tests and xrays. The only thing abnormal was liver labs. Vet thinks she has hepatic encephalopathy and is treating her as such. Last night she was less reactive and was eating more by syringe and today vet said she was much more alert. I have anxiety so the thought that her symptoms were similar to what I Read about rabies I did not want to take even the smallest chance so my daughter and I had our shots and the immunoglobulin. The vet states it is very unlikely she has rabies we live in a area that there has not been any confirmed cases this year. A few questions if there are any Vets out there 1. Do stray kittens have passive immunity from rabies from their mother and 2. With the liver labs being abnormal can we take rabies off the table. 3. Also can we take rabies off table since she seems to have some improvement as rabies is progressive.

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mimi

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Russian Blue

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2 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Lack Of Appetite
Lack Of Activity
Sleeping All Day
Sudden Depression
Dilated Puples

i have a 2 years old female cat (she's not spayed and not vaccinated at all), she Always goes outdoors and fight with other cats , last night she went out and when she came back she was completely different she looke like she's in pain her puples were dilated and was purring at first i thought she fell of Something high but now im concerned about rabies because she doesn't seem in pain any more but still lethargik and depressed and she has a mild fever

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Black Jack

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tabby

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5 Months

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Aggression

My cat had kittens around July last year with another cat i brought home and I didn’t think he was of age to mate because he had been starving so I let them see each other for a few hours a day, and she became pregnant. The kittens were the ens I had ever eaten i seen. I got both of the cats vaccinated last November and 2 of the kittens that used to love to cuddle with me are skiddish. One will run from you now and does not like to Ben Pete long term and the other one always wants to bite. Which happened recently. I brought the one that likes to bite to sit with me on my couch and she didn’t want me close to her or she growled. I just thought maybe she’s upset I’m hardly home and I play with her and she ends up clawing me, not a playful claw, growls and then I record her on my phone As a joke and as I start recording her and she attacks the phone, growls, and bit me. (Because of the light maybe?) started bleeding so I went to wash it and there was tingling so I look up everything about rabies because I have not been able to afford their shots yet and they may have been exposed to the virus because I live in the country and their father goes in and out and encounters wild animals and cats even though he is vaccinated it said online that those are possible stage 2 symptoms of rabies in cats. So I’m thinking I screwed up and created a bad situation for myself even though I thought I was doing the right thing...they aren’t showing any other symptoms. Should I be worried about the life of my pets? AND MYSELF? Also the father a few months ago randomly attacked my face but i he was vaccinated so I didn’t think twice. Should I be worried?

Rabies Average Cost

From 307 quotes ranging from $200 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,000

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