|`In British Columbia, we really only have rabies ongoing in the bat
population, so this is likely an exposure of the cat to a bat,` said
the Fraser Health Authority`s Dr. Larry Gustafson.
Dr. Michael Orser, a veterinarian, said the male cat was brought in
to his animal hospital last week. One of his legs was paralyzed, he
was uncoordinated and exceptionally aggressive, and clawed at the
vet, drawing blood.
`If you touched anywhere near his head or neck area, it would want to
attack. We, of course, had difficulty handling it, so we had to give
it some sedation to take some blood samples,` said Orser.
The 1st tests were inconclusive, he said, but a 2nd set of blood
samples came back positive for rabies. The cat had to be euthanized.
`Had it just been euthanized as an unknown neurological disorder, the
scary thing is probably even the family members could have gone on to
die from rabies, because it is fatal in humans.`
Orser and 6 of his staff members are now going through an extensive
vaccination program. The cat`s owner, who was bitten by the animal,
along with friends and family also have to be treated.
Gustafson said the case serves as a reminder to pet owners to keep
their animals up to date with rabies and other vaccinations. Rabies
shots cost about USD 25 each.
Rabies attacks the nervous system and must be treated quickly to prevent death.
Its symptoms [in humans] include:
c. Increasing difficulty in swallowing
d. Excessive drooling
e. Muscle spasms or weakness
f. Strange behavior
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