BIRMINGHAM, MI – Oakland County health authorities are calling on pet owners to ensure that their cats and dogs receive up-to-date rabies vaccines after confirming that a pet cat in Birmingham has contracted the disease.
"People and their pets are encouraged to avoid encounters with unknown animals and to protect pets by vaccination," said Leigh-Anne Stafford, Oakland County Health Commissioner.
"Rabies is a deadly disease for humans and pets, and there is no known cure.
The affirmation in the cat's case follows confirmed cases of rabies in four bats and eleven skunks in Oakland County earlier this year, according to the Associated Press.
Last month a deaths fell in West Bloomfield found positive for the disease tested Other cities with confirmed cases in skunks include Troy, Rochester Hills and Southfield, the AP said. Rabies can be deadly to humans, but can be prevented if the person gets a vaccine for medical treatment immediately after exposure to the virus.
Dogs and cats are routinely vaccinated against this virus during their regular veterinary visits. However, the health authorities recommend keeping the animals on a leash when they walk outdoors, as this limits the encounter with wildlife.
"Outdoor cats have a far greater chance of finding a wild animal that may be sick or aggressive." said Bob Gatt, manager of the Oakland County Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center. "Keeping your cats in the house is the best way to ensure their safety."
The symptoms of wildlife include slow and unusual movements, lots of drooling, aggression, and no obvious fear of people offering these tips :
"If you or your pet is bitten or scratched by a wild animal or an unknown animal, wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately, even if your pet was previously vaccinated. "
" The rabies virus occurs in the saliva of infected animals and is spread by bites or scratches. For information on potential rabies exposure, contact the Health Division at 248-858-1