A cat in Owyhee County has tested positive for rabies, the first time that has happened in Idaho since 1992.
According to a press release from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, the cat “was behaving aggressively and bit its owner.” The strain of rabies the cat tested positive for is associated with bats, the release said.
In addition to the cat, 10 bats have tested positive for rabies in Idaho this year. It is the first rabid animal located in Owyhee County in 2019.
“Rabies, a virtually 100% fatal infection in people and animals, can affect our pets, putting the risk of this deadly disease right at our doorstep. Although most bats do not have rabies, it is likely that the cat was exposed to a rabid bat, thus contracting the infection,” Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, state public health veterinarian for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, said in the release.
Tengelsen called it a “stark reminder that rabies is present in Idaho.” She encouraged pet owners to vaccinate their dogs, cats, ferrets, and horses.