Symptoms And Remedy
Rabies is a viral disease that affects the Central Nervous System of all warm blooded animals. This category includes cats and human beings. There are people and cats that are naturally resistant to the disease. When the signs of rabies have show, the disease is almost invaluably fatal. Rabies virus in cats is spread through bites or contact with such carriers as bats, skunks, raccoons and foxes, among others. Infected dogs will also pass the disease if the dog attacks your cat. The disease is also disseminated through the saliva of these animals because that is where the virus is retained. Only Australia and the Antarctica are known to have no cases of rabies. The two are islands.
Upon entry into the body, the virus replicates by spreading into muscles. The virus will use the muscles to get to the nearest nervous system. It will attack the peripheral, motor and sensory nerves by traveling using the nerve fluids. Once it gets to the nerves, there is no stopping. The virus will quickly attack the system causing fatality.
Transmission and Incubation of Rabies
The fatal nature of rabies means that countries take extensive measures to prevent transmission. Strict quarantine is observed in the island countries that have been declared rabies-free. Transmission occurs when rabies virus gets under the skin. The virus cannot survive outside the body of a mammal. This explains why mere contact will not result in transmission.
There is no uniform incubation period for rabies virus. It ranges anywhere between a day and a year. In dogs, it takes a longer time compared to cats. A cat will manifest within 3-8 weeks. The cat will be dead within ten days of manifestation of signs. There are several factors that will determine how soon the signs manifest in cats.
Infected site- the virus takes time to travel from the bitten area to the spinal cord or brains. This means that it the bite is near the spinal cord or brain, it will take a shorter period of symptoms to manifest.
Severity of bites- the fact that an animal has the rabies virus does not mean that its saliva has the virus. Further, it will depend on whether the animal virus is full blown inside the body of the biting animal. A small bite or scratch will only inject a small amount of saliva and virus into the body compared to a massive bite.
Amount of virus injected- the amount depends on how much virus is in the body of the animal. It also depends on how large the wound is. A deeper would also facilitate the injection of a large volume of viruses.
Regardless of the site of the bite, its severity and amount of virus injected, the virus will always and eventually get to the brains or nervous system. It only takes longer in some situations. Rabies is rated a very serious health condition that requires the quick intervention of a health expert.
Spread Of Rabies To Human Beings
Rabies is rated as severe and even fatal and is usually transmitted to human beings. The most common mode of transmission is a bite. However, cats rarely bite and instead will scratch your skin. This should a cause for worry, though it is a less common mode of transmission. Mucus membrane coming into contact with saliva or an open wound will cause transmission.
Symptoms Of Rabies Virus In Cats
Rabies in cats comes in two forms. There is the furious rabies and the paralytic rabies. The early signs of this virus only manifest in mild central nervous system abnormalities. At the prodromal stage, a cat that was friendly and quiet becomes very aggressive. On the reverse, a cat that was playful and friendly may become shy, nervous and withdrawn. These are clear signs of danger. In most cases, the signs are interpreted to mean an infection or change of mood. This is why such changes should make you alert and push you to consult your veterinary at the earliest opportunity.
The cat then moves to the furious rabies stage. It is impossible to miss a cat at this stage of the disease. The cat becomes excited and may display aggressiveness towards people in the compound. The cat becomes dangerous to both people and animals within the compound. It becomes nervous and easily irritated. It will turn out to be a vicious cat regardless of the breed or how it used to behave in the past. Your cat will begin to drool because muscle spasms are causing difficulties. This is the saliva that is highly infectious. The health, breed and genes of the cat will determine how fast it gets to this stage.
The paralytic stage is usually the final phase. It takes about seven days since the first signs began to show. Rabies is a fatal disease and will leave your cat comatose leading to death. One of the signs you will notice with the cat throughout these stages is watery eyes. By the time it gets to this level, the cat could have spread the virus to other pets and people within the compound. This is why it must not be allowed to get to this stage without professional medical attention.
Diagnosis Of Rabies In Animals
Diagnosis of rabies requires direct examination of brains. This happens after detection of early warning signs. Rarely is the disease detected when the animal is alive. In fact, some animals die suddenly causing the veterinary to request a brain test. Your suspicion by being observant will also provide hints that your feline pet is suffering from rabies attack.
Visible Symptoms Of Rabies In Cats
Most signs of ill health in pets, just like in humans, overlap. This causes most of these diseases to escape the attention of pet owners until a time when the situation is too late. Some of the signs to watch in the cat include hydrophobia, paralysis, difficulties in swallowing, pica and fever. The cat may also experience seizures and paralysis, especially at the advanced stages. The jaw may also drop because of muscle spasm and swallowing difficulty.
Cats with rabies also experience poor coordination of muscles and other parts of the body. The behavior of your cat may change suddenly. It becomes easily excitable yet irritable. It may also change to become aggressive and unusually shy. This change in behavior should be a cause for alarm. The attitude and behavior of your cat will change drastically. The larynx and mandible of your cat may also experience paralysis. Frothy and excessive saliva is another sign you are likely to witness.
Dealing With Rabies Bites
The first and obvious reaction is to seek quick medical attention. However, it is not obvious that there are viruses in the saliva of every infected animal, especially cats and dogs. You should only worry if your cat has shown the signs and symptoms indicated above. It is not obvious that a rabid pet will pass the virus. This is why quarantine is used as a way of checking the spread of this virus. When the symptoms of rabies advance, there is no doubt that the condition will be full blown.
Anti-rabies serum is used to interrupt the progression of the symptoms ones the bite occurs. However, it is only in rare cases where or rarely documented ones where a sick animal gets healed from this condition. An immediate dose of anti-rabies serum has been known to interrupt progression. This rarely happens because most pet owners only notice the problem when the signs are full blown. The vaccine helps the pet in developing antibodies that fight the virus once it is in the body.
Administration of the vaccine can only be effective if the virus has not entered the nervous system. This is why pets are vaccinated early in readiness for any bite that might occur. By the time your cat is showing signs of muscle spasm, seizures and loss of coordination, the nervous system is already infected and there will be no turning back. Prior vaccination is also demanded for people who are at risk including veterinary officers, wildlife handlers and pet owners. Once it gets to the nervous system, it will be impossible for antibodies to get to the viruses.
Vaccination In Cats After A Bite
An UN-vaccinated cat that has been bitten should be treated with caution. Antiserum or vaccine is likely to mask the signs of infection, exposing people and other pets in the environment to the virus in future. Where the possibility of exposure has been ascertained, the animal is usually euthanized. This is the safest way of dealing with an infected animal.
Quarantine is an alternative. However, it exposes the animal and people in the environment to risks such as bites and scratches. The quarantine process should be very strict and combined with strict monitoring for early signs. Considering that it takes days to months for the signs to show depending on infection severity and area that is bitten, you might need to keep the cat in the restricted area for months. This is an uncertain and nervous situation. This is why euthanizing is recommended.
Where the exposed cat had received vaccination, a booster injection is recommended. This is not a guarantee that the virus will be neutralized. This is why strict quarantine is recommended for several days or weeks until you ascertain that the signs are not progressing.
Transmission Of Rabies To Humans
Rabies is classified under the zoonotic diseases. This means that it can be spread from animals to humans. As indicated above, the spread takes place through bites and scratches from an infected animal. Consult a doctor immediately you are bitten or scratched by an infected animal.
Before you get to the doctor, perform rabies first aid by cleaning the wound with plenty of water and soap. Be wary of suspicious animals that show aggression towards people, lack of fear towards strangers and excess salivation. Dogs and cats that are stray or any wild animal should be treated with suspicion. Post exposure vaccination is usually very successful and is recommended but it must be administered immediately after exposure.
Veterinary officers and health personnel are required to report all cases of rabies for management purposes. Such reporting facilitates vaccination of all pets in the area and putting in place precautions to prevent spread to either humans or other animals. Most infected animals will be euthanized to prevent spread to other animals and people in the vicinity.
Prevention Of Rabies In Cats And Other Pets
Vaccination is recommended for all pets. This ensures that in case it is bitten, the virus does not run the risk of causing harm or progressing to the nervous system. You should also protect your cats and pets from coming into contact with strange as well as wild animals. In case the pet engages in a fight with others in the neighborhood, monitor its wounds and ensure speedy treatment.
Observe the health of your pet keenly at all times. You will easily notice when it has a wound or when the behavior has changed. Always take quick action to ensure that a disease or condition does not progress to become harmful. When handling an animal that is aggressive, be cautious by restraining it and using protective gloves. In fact, you should restrain and quarantine the animal until a professional responds to your distress call.
When playing or handling your animal, do not reach into its mouth carelessly. This is common when you are retrieving a play item or object. The cat may bite you involuntarily. The sharp teeth may also scratch your skin exposing you to entry of the virus.
Treatment Of Rabies
There is no known treatment of rabies in cats. This is why quarantine is used to prevent the cats from spreading the virus to other pets and animals. Ensure that the cat does not escape or injure other people and pets in the area. Notify your veterinarian who will also notify animal authorities in the region. Be ready to have your cat euthanized because that is the only option available. It is easier to prevent through vaccination than hope against all odds that your cat can be treated once infected, and remember all paws matter!
NOTE: *** By no way is this content intended as a Substitute or Diagnosis for taking your Cat to Veterinarian. It is for FYI of what to look for by informing you of some Signs and Symptoms to help keep your cat safe.***