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Are they going to have to put him down????

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
DH got bit by one of the barn cats today and is at the ER getting his rabies shots. Has anyone else had to get them, and what side affects did you experience?

I checked online and I always thought it was a series of 20 shots in the stomach. Well, apparently now it's only a series of 5 shots which is much better but I'm still worried because DH doesn't react well to a lot of medications due to other health problems.

A little bit of background...the barn cats are my MIL's (who lives up the road). For the most part, they are very well socialized and we take them in for shots and neutering/spaying when we can afford it. There isn't a free or low cost neuter/spay program around here. But they are well fed, have shelter in cold weather and we love them to death.

We used to live in my MIL's old farm house while we were waiting for our house to be built. During the winter we always had barn cats in the basement which was fine with us. We're still not sure how they were getting in, but we still put food and water in the basement for them. At least they had a warm place to go. Now, my MIL's brother and his wife are living there and they don't want cats in the basement, so DH went up to try to get the cat out. He was fine until they got to the top of the basement steps and their little yappy dog (which was caged....right beside the basement door) started barking and freaked him out. He bit my husband's finger straight through....even through a glove! It bled like crazy.

He is the sweetest kitty! He's one of the original 3 kittens that first came around our house. When DH grills outside, all three of them are waiting for their treat. It's gotten to the point that we by an extra steak or make an extra hamburger just to feed the outside cats. This little bugger actually likes to sneak into the house when I let the dogs in and make himself at home for a while, filling his belly..warming up..then when he's ready he makes it known that he want's to go back outside.

The thing is, MIL doesn't remember if he is one of the ones that actually got their shots. She had a bunch of barn cats vaccinated by a vet when he came out to look at one of her goats a year ago. All she had to pay for was the actual vaccine, which saved a LOT of money. But, most of the barn cats don't really have names and there are 3 "orange" tabbies that got vaccinated, but there are more than that running around here.

I'm just afraid, since DH went to the ER, that animal control is going to come and try to take him...or all of them. I know the only way to test for rabies is to put the animal down and basically cut it's head off. I'm sure this kitty doesn't have rabies. DH is planning on telling them the cat ran off into the woods, which he did. Of course he WON'T tell them he was sitting on my porch waiting for breakfast 30 minutes later.

I'm sorry, I didn't realize this post would be so long. I'm just a little upset. I know DH is going to be fine, but I really don't want to have anyone come and take my outdoor kitties. Thank you for letting me vent.
post #2 of 8
I would say, if animal control is going to actually follow through, to just tell him that's he's one of the vaccinated ones.

Since this is a first time "offense", they should just hold him for observation, either at a shelter, or at your vet's office. 10 days, and if he shows no signs of rabies, he's free to go.

That's how it went for me, when Billy bit me once. It ended up getting infected, and I had to go to the doctor's, and by law, they had to call animal control. I understand exactly where you're coming from - I was so terrified they were going to take Billy away that I really struggled with going to the doctor's or not.

They ended up letting me keep Billy quarantined at my new townhouse for 10 days, with a vet examination afterwards, and were really quite nice about it. If I had still been living in an apartment, it would have been the shelter or the vet's - so I think that should be the worst of it.

So to you, for your DH and your orange kitty, things will be okay.
post #3 of 8
I would say, if animal control is going to actually follow through, to just tell him that's he's one of the vaccinated ones.

Since this is a first time "offense", they should just hold him for observation, either at a shelter, or at your vet's office. 10 days, and if he shows no signs of rabies, he's free to go.
We'd had Rufus for a couple of weeks, and he'd had his rabies shot before we ever brought him inside. (he was a stray) He got his tail caught in the door and bit the bejesus out of my calf. When I finally went to the dr. (with an infection at the cellular level, no less) they asked if the cat had his shot. I told them yes and that was the end of it. I'm sure they never notified animal control---at least, I never heard about it if they did. They just told me to keep an eye on the cat. It might be different since your DH went to the ER; they might be required by law to report an animal bite.

Either way, I'd definitely tell them that the cat was vaccinated. If you tell animal control that he ran off, they're liable to hunt down any orange tabby they can find in the vicinity.

Hope the meds don't affect your DH too much. Good luck.
post #4 of 8
Been thru this twice. Please keep in mind that animal control laws vary from state to state and even county to county. Anyway, my mom was bitten by a stray cat they had been feeding. We took her to the ER. She was given a series of shots all around the bite (calf area), plus a few more in her arms. She got very sick with nausea/vomiting following the shots. They were quite painful and she had significant bruising. Animal control caught the cat and it had to be quarantined for I'm thinking 30 days at our expense. We did not want the cat destroyed. They also charged us to neuter the cat, since all animals have to be spayed or neutered before being leaving their facility.

DH was bit by a cat from the neighbor's barn that we had been feeding. He did not have to take the shots...we had the cat quarantined at our vet's office (can't remember the exact length of time). To our surprise, the cat had already been neutered. We just had to get his shots and then we brought him home and kept him.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Well, DH is home and VERY sore! They gave him a shot in each thigh (right in the muscle...ouch!), a shot in each butt cheek and one in the arm then he has to go back for 4 more shots over the next 4 weeks. But, if he ever gets bit again he will just have to get boosters. I'm actually surprised after living on a farm for most of his life he's never had to get the rabies shots before.

But, he did talk to the doctor and explained the situation. The doctor says they do have to report it to animal control, but due to the circumstances (not an agressive attack but because the cat was scared) they said they probably won't do anything. The most they will probably do is have us quarantine it, which is fine. We have a spare large dog crate in the basement we can fix up, and he would probably LOVE being out of the cold for a while.

The thing that cracks me up is, after my husband left to go to the ER, I went outside and there was the kitty sitting on my car, happy as can be, waiting for his lunch.
post #6 of 8
I was bit by a feral kitten one time. I called my vet to ask about the prevalence of rabies in our area and he said slim to none. I simply caught the kitten and isolated him for 10 days to make sure he didn't have rabies (and of course he just moved in with me after that).

So no, you won't have to put the cat down, you should just isolate him.

If the odds are that there isn't rabies in your area and you have the cat in isolation, your DH shouldn't have to go thru the rabies shots.
post #7 of 8
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
If the odds are that there isn't rabies in your area and you have the cat in isolation, your DH shouldn't have to go thru the rabies shots.
I agree. When I was bitten the cat was watched for 10 days then brought back. I knew he didn't have rabies and there's really not a lot in the area where I live. Had they tried to push rabies shots on me I would have refused. I have enough issues to deal with rather than risk vaccination reactions.

Whether he got the vaccinations or another shot, in someone that has health problems already - watch him for any signs of reaction.
post #8 of 8
I had rabies shots about 9 years ago. Nowadays, they liek to adminster them at the site of the injury; however, mine was my upper lip, so they alternated arms. They first give you an anti-colagulant shot, which I think kills any of the rabies virus, should it be in your bloodstream. then you get rabies shot #1. I had a series of 5, I think. The you get #2 3 days later; then once a week (to the day) for the rest. IT IS VERY, VERY IMPORTANT TO GET ALL OF THE SHOTS!!!!! They told me that most people don't, but PLEASE GET ALL THE SHOTS. You need to get the complete series in order the ensure you do not get rabies. Do not assume, jusr because it doesn't show up right way that you have been made immune!!!! Yes, it's annoying to do, but dying of rabies is not something you want to experience...only 2 people throughout history have been know to have had it, and lived. Not very good odds.

I had no side effects from the shots; they did hurt a bit once the serum got into my bloostream, just when I actually was being injected--feels like the hardest punch you can imagine, but it goes away soon. Kind of a weird feeling, but nothing bad. The serum actually is a lovely shade of violet! I used to watch them inject me, and always loved the color of the rabies serum (am I weird, or what???)

My brother had to get them while in Vietnam, during the war. The dog turned out to be rabid. Back then, you did get the belly shots, which were PAINFUL. He said that his belly felt like he had rocks in it for about 45 m. afterwards.

Usually, the animal is quarantined for 14 days, while you get the shots (just in case--the sooner, the better, pref. within 24 hrs.). If the animal exhibits no signs of rabies, I assume it is released, though I would imagine that many owners decide to put the animal down, if they had bitten someone (assuming they cannot be trusted around humans).

Getting rabies shots sounds scary, but isn't, at least if there is no suspicion that the animal truly is rabid, which would be unusual. The shots are not bad at all, trust me! They are well worth it. Also, they told me that you have about 50 years-lifetime of immunity to rabies, but may need to get booster shots, if exposed again.
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