Pet owners are on high alert in San Marcos after a house cat tested positive for rabies. The city of San Marcos notified people who live in the Blanco Gardens neighborhood, but without knowing exactly where the cat picked up the disease, many are still concerned. City officials say the cat tested positive for the strain of rabies carried by bats.
“This isn’t something that is an isolated event that goes away,” said Springtown Veterinarian Hospital Associate Veterinarian Cherry Seaton.
Rabies is usually connected to animals like bats and skunks, rarely is it a household pet. “It hasn’t really spilled over into our pet population in many, many, many years. I don’t really have the data on that, but I’ve been here for 25 years and I don’t know of a case of a positive rabies in a pet,” said Seaton.
That’s until last week, when a cat bit its owner and the family dog. “She verbally told me that her cat was not current on her rabies shot, that it started acting erratic the day before, bit her and then suddenly died,” said Seaton.
The city went door to door handing out flyers warning pet owners. Many concerned for their own pets and the neighborhood children they say are playing with the outside cats.
“I would definitely not be letting my animals roam at all if you have cats that you can’t keep in the yard. I would say dogs that are current on their vaccinations and they are in a fenced yard or on a leash, it’s not a concern, but I would definitely be concerned if you have pets that are not confined,” said Seaton.
If keeping your cat inside isn’t an option, Seaton says the best chance of keeping them safe is to get them vaccinated. “I would say it’s a wakeup call to get your pets vaccinated and keep them vaccinated,” said Seaton.
Getting a vaccine for your pet is required by the state. Most cats will need the vaccine once a year and every three years for dogs.
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