Brunswick County notified about positive rabies case involving cat
BOLIVIA, N.C. – Brunswick County Health Services received notification that a cat tested positive for rabies recently, prompting health officials to remind residents to stay aware and take precautions to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their pets from potentially rabid animals.
The cat is suspected to have contracted rabies from an encounter with an unspecified wild animal the week of Nov. 2 in the southern central part of the county. The cat was injured, became ill, and later attacked its owner. The cat was taken to a veterinarian where it was euthanized and tested positive for rabies.
This cat’s owner is receiving the necessary rabies vaccinations following the incident. The cat was not current with its rabies vaccinations.
State law requires that all owned dogs, cats, and ferrets must be vaccinated against rabies by four months of age and maintain the animal’s current rabies vaccination status throughout the animal’s entire lifetime. One shot is not enough; rabies vaccinations must be kept current.
Talk to your veterinarian about when your pet needs its rabies booster shots. To find a veterinarian, see the N.C. Veterinary Medical Association’s website.
Owners should retain the original copy of the rabies vaccination certificate, provided by the legally authorized vaccinator as evidence of the animal’s current vaccination status. There are no legal waivers or exemptions, rabies vaccinations are required by law for domestic dogs, cats and ferrets in North Carolina.
Health Services and the Animal Protective Services division at the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office are working together to investigate the incidents and inform the community about proactive safety steps they can take wherever they live in the county.
Learn more about rabies control and prevention on the NCDHHS website at epi.dph.ncdhhs.gov/cd/rabies/control.html.
Steps you can take to protect yourself, loved ones and pets include:
- Vaccinate your pets against rabies and keep the vaccinations current. North Carolina rabies law requires that all owned dogs, cats, and ferrets must be vaccinated against rabies by four months of age and maintain the animal’s current rabies vaccination status throughout the animal’s entire lifetime.
- Supervise pets outdoors, and keep all pets on a leash.
- Do not feed pets outdoors. Pet food attracts wildlife.
- Do not feed wildlife, feral cats or feral dogs.
- Secure garbage cans with wildlife-proof lids.
- Leave young wildlife alone. If you find a juvenile animal that appears to need help, it is best to leave it alone and call a wildlife professional.
In the United States, human fatalities associated with rabies occur in people who fail to seek medical assistance, usually because they were unaware of their exposure. In most cases, fatality from rabies in infected humans can be prevented by prompt medical attention and vaccination.
If you are bitten or scratched by any animal that could possibly have rabies:
- Clean the wound well with soap and running water for 15 minutes and contact your doctor. The doctor will determine if a series of rabies vaccinations will be needed.
- Note the location and a description of the animal to provide to animal control.
- Do not try to catch any wild animal that bites or scratches you. Call animal control immediately to capture the animal for rabies testing.
- If the animal is someone’s pet, get the owner’s name and address and provide them to the animal control officer. Any mammal can transmit rabies. The animal that bit you, depending on the species and circumstances, must be evaluated or tested for rabies.
For recommendations regarding the public and interacting with wildlife, including feeding or rescuing wildlife, visit: www.ncwildlife.org/Portals/0/WildlifeProblems/documents/Feeding-Wildlife-Hazards.pdf
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