ROOSEVELT COUNTY, N.M. (KFDA) - New Mexico Department of Health reported an unvaccinated cat in Roosevelt County and has been diagnosed with rabies.
NMDOH is reminding owners to make sure their dogs, cats, horses and other livestock get vaccinated against rabies.
The cat developed weakness in the hind legs and bit a person last week. The NMDOH Scientific Lab Division confirmed the animal had the deadly viral disease, which affects the body’s nervous system.
It can be prevented but not cured. The person who was bit by the cat received rabies post exposure medical treatment, which can prevent rabies from developing in them as well.
To date this year, seven wild animals, including six skunks and one domestic cat have tested positive for rabies in Roosevelt and Curry counties.
The cat in this current case represents the first domestic animal with rabies reported this year in New Mexico.
Domestic animals are more likely to have contact with people, so pets infected with rabies have a greater chance of exposing a person to the disease.
“It’s important pet owners remember that there are wild animals in the area likely infected with rabies, and vaccinated domestic animals, like this cat, could become infected,” said New mexico Department of Heath Cabinet Secretary Kathy Kunkel. “Since pet dogs and cats can potentially encounter rabid animals outdoors and then potentially transmit the disease to people, it is very important to make sure all dogs and cats are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations.”
For more information about rabies, call the Reporting Surveillance hotline at 505-827-0006 or visit the rabies section of their website.