Rabies is one of the most feared diseases in felines, because in addition to being fatal, it is transmissible to humans. Even if it remains rare in France, it should especially not be underestimated, because the risks continue to exist.
Rabies: definition and mode of transmission
An infectious disease, rabies is caused by a neurotropic rabies virus that causes disorders of the nervous system. The rabies virus develops in neurons in the brain, passing through several nerve pathways from the area that was bitten. The brain becomes the center for the multiplication of the virus which will then spread towards the peripheral nervous system before reaching other areas such as the heart muscles, skin, eye and especially the salivary glands.
It is also through saliva that the virus is transmitted at the time of bites. In cats, incubation of the virus lasts between 15 and 30 days. It all depends on the bite area. If it is near the head, the incubation will be shorter. Note that the virus cannot pass through the skin unless it has an injury or lesion. At the time of bites, therefore, the wound becomes a favorable ground for the transmission of rabies by means of saliva.
Symptoms in cats
In cats, the disease manifests itself in two ways, namely on the one hand, furious rabies and on the other hand, silent rabies. The furious form is the least common. It seems that she only touches one in five cats. It is manifested by difficulty in moving, excessive drooling and in the most serious cases, the feline is paralyzed. Generally, if the latter is of a playful and cuddly nature, he can develop a form of aggression and becomes sensitive to stimulation and noises. Death occurs after 4 to 5 days.
Mute rabies is the most common. In addition to drooling a lot, the animal suffers from paralysis of the jaw and muscles.
Other symptoms that can appear with both forms of rabies include difficulty swallowing, loss of appetite, and severe restlessness.
Health surveillance, an obligation
In France, the law requires that if a cat bites another animal or a human, it must immediately be placed under health surveillance by a veterinarian, whether or not it is vaccinated. During this monitoring, the practitioner checks his state of health for at least 15 days. Once the quarantine is completed, a certificate proving that the animal does not have rabies is issued.
The vaccine, the best prevention solution
The solution to avoiding rabies is to carry out the vaccination which is normally done in the third month. The latter is mandatory for all people who plan to travel with their pet. It is necessary to obtain the passport of the cat in question. One year after the first vaccination, a booster should be carried out.