Thursday, January 03, 2008

Scary and cute at the same time

Public Health Response to a Rabid Kitten --- Four States, 2007 in the CDC's MMWR this week gives a great, narrative discussion of the discovery and investigation of rabies exposure via a rabies-infected kitten -- public health epidemiology in action.

Of course, it's also sad that the kitten was ill (had already been euthanized before the suspicion of rabies) and a good reminder why rescued animals should really be quarantined from other animals and humans until a full veterinarian exam, even if they initially look well - though domestic animal rabies is not nearly as common as it used to be, animals that have spent any time in "the wild" might have been exposed to illnesses through contact with other animals (this kitten had a raccoon-variant rabies infection).

Some vets will give reduced rates for rescued animals - call your local veterinarians to find out if they offer assistance or can recommend other services in your area. The American Animal Hospital Association, the accrediting group for animal hospitals in the US and Canada, has a directory of vets that you can search by zip code.

It's also a good reminder to spay/neuter pets that you don't plan to breed - the ASPCA has an online directory of low-cost providers for this service.

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