There is currently an increase in the number of reported cases of cats with rabies, posing a health risk to both animals and people. Whether your cat goes outdoors or not does not always determine if he or she should receive a rabies vaccination. At the Scottsdale Cat Clinic we ask our clients many questions so we can have a clear picture of the animal's surroundings and behaviors to better understand what the true exposure and risk to the animal really is. Outdoor wildlife making their way indoors can be a factor and we've seen and heard the stories to back it up.
According to the CDC report, rabies continues to affect wildlife much more than it does domestic animals. Wild animals, especially raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes, accounted for 93 percent of all rabies cases reported in 2008, the report states.
More work needs to be done, however, when it comes to controlling rabies in pets, especially cats and dogs. Cats led the list of domestic animals with
reported cases of rabies in 2008. According to the CDC report, there were 294
reported cases of rabies in cats last year, up about 12 percent from the 262
reported cases in 2007. Dog-related cases totaled 75 in 2008, down from 93 in
Jesse Blanton, an epidemiologist at the CDC, said cats have more interaction with wildlife, where they are prone to being bitten by a rabid animal, and they aren't getting the vaccinations they need.
"The CDC's general belief is that people are doing a good job vaccinating
their dogs, but not their cats," Blanton said. "We have controlled canine
rabies through the vaccination of domestic dogs, so we know that vaccinating
The belief that cats aren't getting their necessary shots is supported by data
from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) report that indicates
36.3 percent of U.S. cat-owning households did not visit a veterinarian in
2006. In contrast, the report, "U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics
Sourcebook," indicates that 17.3 percent of dog-owning households did not
visit a veterinarian in 2006.
The simple act of vaccinating a pet, Blanton said, provides protection to the
animal and the humans with whom it may come in contact. Veterinarians can vaccinate dogs and cats, and they will advise clients on the recommended or required frequency of vaccination needed.
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