Thursday, December 1, 2016
A cat that was part of an unvaccinated feral colony being fed by owners of a property in the vicinity of First Avenue and Tuckahoe Road in Estell Manor has been confirmed as Atlantic County’s 10th rabies case of the year.
The cat was brought to a local veterinary hospital with a wound of unknown origin and displayed neurological symptoms. The cat was euthanized and sent to the state lab where it was confirmed positive for rabies on November 30, 2016.
This is the third confirmation of the viral disease in a cat this year. Other cases have involved bats, raccoons and a skunk.
An investigation by the Division of Public Health found that no other cats in the colony appear to display wounds or symptoms at this time. The cats will be confined to an outdoor heated shed for a period of four months with daily monitoring by the homeowners and monthly monitoring by the Division of Public Health.
Rabies is a viral disease that can be fatal if left untreated. Atlantic County reported eight rabies cases in 2015 among bats, skunks, raccoons and a fox. Pet owners are advised to protect their pets with a rabies vaccination.
The Atlantic County Animal Shelter provides a free rabies vaccination clinic for dogs and cats once a month at 240 Old Turnpike Road in Pleasantville. The next clinic will be held on Sunday, December 18, 9-11 AM. Dogs must be brought on leashes and cats in carriers. For more information call (609) 485-2345 or visit www.aclink.org/animalshelter.
Dogs and cats who receive an initial rabies vaccination are not considered immunized until 28 days after the vaccine has been administered, therefore it is strongly recommended that any animal newly vaccinated or those too young to receive the vaccine (less than three months) not be left outdoors unattended. Situations have arisen where pet owners have left unvaccinated or newly vaccinated pets outdoors where they have sustained exposures to known or suspect rabid animals, resulting in euthanasia or four to six months strict confinement.
Public health officials also advise residents to teach your children to stay away from wild, stray or aggressive animals.
Never feed or touch wild animals or try to keep them as pets.
If you are bitten by an animal, wash the wound immediately with soap and water and seek medical attention.
Report all animal bites to the Atlantic County Division of Public Health at 609-645-5971.
For more information about rabies control and precautions to protect your family and your pets, please visit the county Web site at www.aclink.org/publichealth or call 609-645-5971.