Can you get rabies from a stray cat scratch?
If a stray cat bites or scratches you, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water right away. See your doctor or nurse immediately. Stray cats may come in contact with bats, raccoons and skunks which sometimes carry rabies. The rabies virus is in the saliva of a sick animal.
Symptoms can be varied and can take months to develop. Classic signs of rabies in cats are changes in behavior (including aggression, restlessness and lethargy), increased vocalization, loss of appetite, weakness, disorientation, paralysis, seizures and even sudden death.
- Because rabies can be transmitted to humans and is nearly universally fatal, many communities have laws mandating rabies vaccination of pets. Rabies is most commonly transmitted by a bite from an infected animal. A rabid bat could find its way inside, presenting an attractive hunting target for an indoor cat.
- Rabies is usually transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal and is most commonly spread through bites. It is still possible to get rabies from a cat scratch or a scratch from any infected animal, but it is less common.
- Rabies is caused by a virus that affects the central nervous system, particularly causing inflammation in the brain. Domestic dogs, cats, and rabbits, and wild animals, such as skunks, raccoons, and bats, are able to transfer the virus to humans via bites and scratches.
Wash cat bites and scratches well with soap and running water. Do not allow cats to lick your wounds. Contact your doctor if you develop any symptoms of cat-scratch disease or infection. CSD is caused by a bacterium called Bartonella henselae.
- The swollen lymph nodes usually disappear within 2 to 4 months, although sometimes can last much longer. In rare cases, a person might develop other symptoms, including infections of the liver, spleen, bones, joints, or lungs, or a lingering high fever without other symptoms.
- Common symptoms of cat scratch fever include: a bump or blister at the bite or scratch site. swollen lymph nodes near the bite or scratch site. fatigue.
- For a surface wound that isn't bleeding, the first step in cat scratch treatment is to clean it with mild soap and water. Rinse well to remove all residue and use a clean cloth or paper towel to blot it try. For a deep scratch that continues to bleed, apply pressure with a bandage or towel until it slows and stops.
How long is the incubation period between a bite from an infected animal and the appearance of symptoms in the cat? This can vary from ten days to one year or longer. Incubation in the cat is generally less than in the dog and is typically three to eight weeks.
- Rabies can't go through unbroken skin. People can get rabies only via a bite from a rabid animal or possibly through scratches, abrasions, open wounds or mucous membranes in contact with saliva or brain tissue from a rabid animal.
- How long does it take for rabies to develop? In animals, development of symptoms can be from 2 weeks to many months. In humans, symptoms usually develop after 3 - 8 weeks. In some cases, symptoms have appeared as early as 9 days and as long as 7 years after exposure.
- Diagnosis in animals. A diagnosis of rabies can be made after detection of rabies virus from any part of the affected brain, but in order to rule out rabies, the test must include tissue from at least two locations in the brain, preferably the brain stem and cerebellum. The test requires that the animal be euthanized.
Updated: 2nd October 2019