Cat tests positive for rabies in Lincoln County

Published: May. 18, 2017 at 12:56 PM EDT|Updated: May. 18, 2017 at 5:24 PM EDT
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LINCOLN COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A cat in Lincolnton tested positive for rabies, marking the first rabies case in the county this year, Lincoln County Animal Services announced Thursday.

The cat was surrendered to Animal Services from Green Street in Lincolnton on April 25 and sent in for rabies testing Monday after its behavior and health declined. Wednesday, the rabies test results came back positive.

"The cat was an outdoor cat, and was surrendered after sustaining an injury of unknown origin, which is now likely attributed to a bite from a rabid animal," Lincoln County Animal Services says. The cat had been at Animal Services since April 25.

Officials say other animals in the area may have come into contact with the same rabid animal that attacked the cat. Animal Control officers are working to inform nearby residents.

Animal control workers are going door to door in the Green Street neighborhood in Lincolnton, leaving notices telling people there was or is a rabid animal in the area and to keep an eye out.They say they want to make sure residents' pets are up to date on rabies vaccinations.

"Lincoln County Animal Services would like to remind residents that rabies vaccination for dogs, cats, and ferrets over the age of 4 months is required by law," Lincoln County Animal Services says.

Signs of rabies include abnormal amounts of aggression of friendliness, disorientation, wobbliness, circling and excessive salivation. Anyone who comes in contact with an animal that may be sick is asked to call Animal Services at 704-736-4125 or 911.

Workers say even though the infected cat had been living at the shelter for weeks, other animals or workers were never in danger.

"They're in separate kennels. Rabies is transferred through bites. There's a potential that it could be transferred through a scratch if saliva was involved." says Hannah Beaver.

Beaver, the Director of Lincoln County Animal Services, adds "It's not at risk of giving other animals or people just by being in the same environment. So when we assess rabies risk of the people around that cat in the shelter we really look at what their interactions were with that animal in the last 10 days before that animal was deceased."

Below is additional information from Lincoln County Animal Services:

One-year rabies vaccinations for cats and dogs are available for $7 at Lincoln County Animal Services, 650 John Howell Memorial Drive, Lincolnton NC. Please visit us Monday-Friday, between the hours of 8am-5pm to have your pets vaccinated. Alternatively, 1 year and 3 year vaccines are also available through your local veterinarian. Our next rabies clinic will also be held on June 24th at West Lincoln Animal Hospital, between 12-4pm.

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