Rabies Cases on the Rise in Indiana

cat_eatingWorld Rabies Day was just a few short weeks ago. The purpose of this day, was to raise awareness of the fact that rabies is still present in our society and that our pets need to be vaccinated against this potentially lethal disease.

While rabies cases continue to exist predominantly in wildlife, our pets are still at-risk, especially cats. Why cats? Cats are curious stalkers and bats carrying rabies have exposed cats to this deadly risk…even indoor only cats! Most people can remember an instance when a bat has entered the home by way of the chimney, becoming trapped, unable to find its way back outside. It’s only natural that a cat’s instincts would kick-in when this happens, causing your mild-mannered house cat to pursue this tiny intruder.

Nationwide, rabies cases have dropped by 3.1% this year. But in Indiana the number of cases seen so far in 2009 has increased by 160%, reports the Indiana State Board of Animal Health. How does this impact you and your household? According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, more work needs to be done when it comes to controlling rabies in pets, especially cats and dogs. Cats led the list of domestic animals with reported cases of rabies in 2008. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were 294 reported cases of rabies in cats last year, up about 12% from the 262 reported cases in 2007. Dog-related cases totaled 75 in 2008, down from 93 in 2007. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) believes this is due to the fact that while more dogs are being properly vaccinated, cats are not getting to their veterinarian as often as they should.

The AVMA conducted a recent study that showed 36.3% of U.S. cat-owning households did not visit a veterinarian in 2006. In contrast, a similar study indicated that 17.3% of dog-owning households did not visit a veterinarian in 2006. Vaccination has been shown to prevent and control the spread of rabies in dogs, and now it’s time to make that same impact on our cat population. Protect your purring family member today, by seeing your veterinarian.

1 Response to “Rabies Cases on the Rise in Indiana”

  1. 1 Taryn Greaser October 26, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Not to sound insensitive to animals (We love our pets!), but the AVMA might gain more ground with this issue if they reinforced the idea that “protecting your purring family member” means protecting your human family too! As a parent, one of the scariest things I’ve read is about the occurrence of rabies deaths in children (mostly due to bites from bats, not pets) because the bites went unnoticed and by the time the symptoms were identifiable it was too late. People assume they will know if their child is bitten or scratched by a pet – but that’s not always the case. If they also mistakenly assume that their animals are not at risk, that’s a dangerous situation for both human and non-human family members.

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