A well-known virus which is present in the saliva of an affected animal is rabies. The disease is passed on to cats and other animals by a bite; therefore, the symptoms of cat rabies should be known by all cat owners.
There are many animals that are carriers of the virus but not actually affected. However, unfortunately, for a majority of cats that are bitten by an affected animal, the final result is death.
The disease is transmitted when an infected animal bites a non-infected animal. Rabies does not live for a great length of time outside of the host and remains in the carcass of an infected animal for less than 24 hours. Rabies is shed in incredible quantities in saliva. However, when an infected animal bites another or a human, it does not necessarily mean that the other animal or human will become infected. Humans, cats, and dogs are only mildly susceptible to rabies, unlike bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes that are more susceptible to the virus.
However, when most animals are bitten by another that is infected, the virus spreads through the nerves and to the brain. It is a relatively slow moving virus, with the average time of incubation being between 2 to 6 weeks in cats before is it is exposed to the brain. Once the virus reaches the brain, it moves to the salivary glands and this is where is can be spread through a bite.
Even though there are three stages to rabies, not all stages will always be evident in your cat. The three phases of symptoms of cat rabies include:
o Prodromal Phase
This is the stage whereby you cat may show the earliest, non-specific symptoms such as apprehension, anxiety, solitude, nervousness, and a fever. It may be a case that friendly cats become shy or irritable and may just snap, whereas aggressive cats may become affectionate. It is also possible for your cat to develop more fever spikes and erratic behavior which lasts for one or two days.
o Furious Phase
Cats are particularly prone to developing this phase. The symptoms of cat rabies in this phase are restless and irritability. They may also become hyper-responsive to auditory and visual stimuli. Cats will begin to roam and become vicious. This will then lead to them being disorientated and then have seizures and eventually die.
o Paralytic or Dumb Stage
This stage usually develops within 2 to 4 days. Cats may begin to salivate because they are unable to swallow. Deep breathing and a dropped jaw may be experienced as a result of the diaphragm and face muscles becoming increasingly paralyzed. The cat will become weaker and eventually go into respiratory failure and die.
You, as a cat owner, may not be aware that you car has been bitten by an infected animal. Therefore, it is extremely important that you always keep a close eye on the symptoms of cat rabies and take your feline friend to vet if you see any of the above symptoms.
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