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First Domestic Cat Found Rabid in Yavapai County Since Late 1950's Featured

Kittens can be vaccinated as early as 12 weeks. Kittens can be vaccinated as early as 12 weeks. Photo by Larissa LaMaster

A domestic cat in Prescott Valley was recently found to be rabid. 


The Arizona Department of Health Services recommends the following precautions:

  • Keep people and pets away from wild animals.
  • Never leave pet food in your yard because it will attract wild animals.
  • Do not pick up, touch, or feed wild or unfamiliar animals, especially sick or wounded ones.
  • If you have been bitten or scratched, or had contact with an animal, wash the wound or area well with soap and water, and report it immediately to animal control or health officials
  • Do not "rescue" abandoned young wild animals. 
  • Vaccinate all dogs and cats against rabies.
  • Take precautions when camping, hunting or fishing. Avoid sleeping on the open ground without the protection of a closed tent or camper. 
  • Keep pets on a leash or in a fenced yard. 
  • Wear impermeable gloves when skinning carcasses.
  • Do not disturb roosting bats. 
  • If you find a bat on the ground, don't touch it. Place a box over the bat to contain it. Try to preserve the bat so it is intact for testing at a laboratory. Report the bat and its location to animal control or  health officials.
  • Teach children not to handle or touch sick or injured animals including bats. 
  • Report all animal bites to animal control or health officials.

For the first time in Yavapai County since the late 1950’s, a domestic cat has tested positive for rabies. A second pet has been quarantined. 

Dwight D’Evelyn, YCSO Media Relations Coordinator sent out the following press release:

"On December 3, 2015, a domestic cat was hit by a car in the 3200 block of Date Creek Drive in the Castle Canyon subdivision of Prescott Valley. The cat owner’s roommate was bitten when he tried to assist the cat off the roadway. The cat died and was left on the owner’s porch wrapped in a towel. The injured roommate was treated at a local hospital and released. A YCSO animal control officer arrived the next day to remove the cat and a few days later, a specimen was sent to a lab for rabies testing.  

"On December 11, 2015, the YCSO Animal Control Office was notified that the cat tested positive for rabies. Animal Control Officers tracked down the previously injured man and alerted him to the test results. He immediately went to the hospital for post rabies exposure treatment. Officers returned to the cat owner’s home to share the test results and survey any family, friends, or neighbors that may have been exposed. Officers did remove and quarantine a 2nd domestic cat that had been in a recent fight with the rabid cat.  

"This is the first known rabid domestic cat recorded since the late 1950’s. It is important to know that rabies is present in this area and that unvaccinated domestic animals can present a danger to humans. Also, please remember it is important to report any animal bite so that testing and tracking of the potential rabid animal can be done quickly and proper treatment for the bite victim(s) can be sought. 

"In this case, the victim was going to bury the cat with reporting the bite. When the bite became infected, he went to the hospital who reported the bite to YCSO Animal Control. 

"For any questions regarding rabies issues, please contact the Animal Control Office at 928-771-3282."

About Vaccinations

The Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) considers the rabies vaccine to be essential for cats. "Rabies, though not required by law in Arizona, it is an essential vaccine for all cats. Three times as many cats as dogs had confirmed rabies in 2012. Cats can be exposed to rabies via infected bats, skunks, foxes, coyotes, raccoons and other wildlife. Rabies is fatal in mammals, but vaccination not only protects the pet, it also protects the humans with whom they live.” 

YHS Clinic offers a low cost Spay/Neuter and Vaccination clinic on Fridays for dogs and cats. They use only non-adjuvanted vaccines for cats, which helps prevent health issues later in life. The cost of the feline rabies vaccination is $25.

See: Yavapai Humane Society Spay/Neuter Wellness Clinic page. 

Of course, your family veterinarian can also provide the necessary vaccinations. You may not vaccinate your pet yourself. 

Most states require pets to be vaccinated against rabies and licensed. In Arizona, dogs are required to be vaccinated at least every three years, depending on the vaccine. According to the Arizona Rabies Manual, “Three months is considered to be the minimum age for primary vaccination.” After that, a booster is needed either annually or every three years, depending on the type of vaccine. The State of Arizona encouraged using three-year rabies vaccinations. The veterinarian giving the vaccine will provide information as to when your pet should be vaccinated next.

Arizona State Law requires a current rabies vaccination for dogs, according to ARS 11, Chapter 7, Article 6.

"Before a license is issued for any dog, the owner or a veterinarian must present a paper or electronic copy or telefacsimile of the vaccination certificate signed by a veterinarian stating the owner's name and address, and giving the dog's description, date of vaccination, manufacturer and serial number of the vaccine used and date revaccination is due. A duplicate of each rabies vaccination certificate issued shall be transmitted to the county enforcement agent within two weeks of the date the dog was vaccinated. No dog shall be licensed unless it is vaccinated in accordance with the provisions of this article and the regulations promulgated pursuant to this article.

What To Do

If you think your pet may be infected, or if you have been bitten by any animal, please immediately contact the Animal Control Office at 928.771.3282

In the meantime, immediately wash the bite wound with soap and water. Try to capture the animal without damaging its head or risking further exposure. 

If the animal that bit you is a dog, cat or livestock animal, it will be placed under observation for 10-14 days. If it remains healthy, no risk of rabies exists. 

If it is a wild animal that bit you, such as a skunk, fox or coyote it should be immediately presumed to be rabid. If the animal is not captured, you will need to consult your doctor and the local health department to decide whether or not you should take the series of rabies shots. 

In 2014, 153 animals in Arizona were confirmed as being positive for rabies. Two of those were from Yavapai County. So far, in 2015, out of 106 cases in Arizona, three were found in Yavapai County. Other years are documented at the Arizona Department of Health Services.



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Last modified on Saturday, 19 December 2015 09:18
Lynne LaMaster

Lynne LaMaster is the Founder and Editor of the eNewsAZ Network of websites. She asks a lot of questions! In her spare time, she loves photography, cooking and hanging out with her family.

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