The New Mexico Department of Health is urging pet and livestock owners in De Baca County and surrounding areas to vaccinate their pets against rabies after a cat tested positive for rabies this week last.
This is the first cat to test positive for rabies in De Baca County based on records dating back to 1966.
“This positive rabies test in a cat shows the importance of keeping valuable pets, horses and livestock up to date on rabies vaccinations,” said Dr. Chad Smelser, deputy state epidemiologist. . “Domestic animals can come into contact with rabid wild animals and then transmit the disease to humans.”
It is also recommended to vaccinate barn cats and feral cat colonies against rabies.
Rabies is a deadly viral disease that affects all mammals and can be prevented but not cured. Most rabies cases reported each year occur in wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes. Rabies vaccination of dogs and cats is required by state law. Unvaccinated pets that are exposed to a rabid animal must either be euthanized or placed in strict isolation for six months to prevent them from exposing people to rabies.
For more information on rabies, visit www.nmhealth.org or call the Epidemiology and Response hotline at 505-827-0006.