ACCOMACK, Va. – A cat displaying symptoms suggestive of rabies has died at the Eastern Shore Regional Animal Control Facility after being captured in the Hillcrest Drive area of New Church, Virginia.
The cat is described as an approximately 7-pound solid gray male that was reported to the Accomack County Sheriff’s Department this week. Health officials were alerted and submitted it for testing at the Division of Consolidated Laboratories in Richmond, where the rabies was confirmed as the cause of the cat’s death.
Rabies is a fatal disease caused by a virus that is found in the saliva of infected animals. It is transmitted to others by a bite or whenever fresh saliva from an infected animal enters a fresh, open wound or enters the mucous membranes of the eye, nose, or mouth of another.
The disease most often affects animals such as raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes, but can kill any mammal, including livestock and people. Unvaccinated cats are highly susceptible to rabies.
Health officials advise that residents of the Eastern Shore should take measures to protect themselves and their families from rabies.
- Keep all cats, dogs, ferrets, horses and other valuable livestock current on their rabies vaccinations. Consult your veterinarian if you are not sure if your animals are up to date.
- Adults should teach children to avoid contact with stray or unknown animals.
- Do not leave pet food outside that could attract stray or wild animals.
- Keep all trash including thrown out food in covered containers where animals cannot reach it.
- Report all animal bites to your local health department and/or your county sheriff’s office.
- Report stray dogs and stray cats to your county sheriff’s department.