Most of us associate rabies with the mad dog frothing at the mouth, eager to bite anything near it. In Canada, however, rabies usually appears in wild animals, especially bats, foxes and skunks. Hamilton and the surrounding areas are having a particularly heavy bat season this year. Traditionally bat season is in the beginning of August but this year the public health office is reporting bat related calls are up by about 200% over previous years. At the clinic we are also experiencing an increased number of clients calling in to report that their cats have had some type of exposure to a bat.
To protect your family and your pets please make sure your cat is up to date on their rabies vaccination. If you are unsure if your cat is up to date please feel free to contact the hospital and we can access your pet’s records. Or if you would like to look directly, you can access vaccination information through your vetscene pet portal.
If your cat has come into contact with a bat please call the Public Health Unit at 905-546-2424 ext 3327. They will arrange for someone to pick up the bat and depending on the circumstances they will decide whether rabies testing should be performed. Your pets will then have to be quarantined for 30 days. This can be done in your home but you will need to make sure your pets do not have any exposure to any other animals. If your cat is not already up to date on their Rabies vaccination this should be done within 48 hours.
Bats aren’t all bad. They can do a lot to decrease the amount of insects in your neighbourhood. This includes mosquitos which can carry heartworm and west nile virus. It’s just a matter of being prepared.
If you have any questions about bats and your cat please feel free to contact the clinic and one of our team members will be happy to help you.
Written by Angelina Johnstone RVT