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Cat ate a bat, should I be concerned about rabies?

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 

sounds like a bad childrens story jaw-dropping.gif

 

but seriously, I don't know how and I don't know where she caught it but about an hour ago when I went to let the cats in for the night I noticed that little miss Finnifer (AKA Finn) was happily munching on a BAT on the front porch.

 

I didn't even think Finn was going to BE a hunter, because she has shown no interest (to my knowledge) and pretty much ignores my mice, unlike Paint and Emry who do hunt and are eyeballing the mice all the time.

 

anyways, I tried to take it from her, but ofcourse she gave me a swat and cloistered herself somewhere in the dark abyss that is the tree line in front of the house to finish her presumably hard won catch thewife.gif

 

 

now, I am under the impression that the ONLY way to get rabies is to be bitten by the infected animal/animal carrying the desease, and that you cannot get rabies by eating said infected animal, that's why it's ok to eat Racoons and possums so long as you're ok with a gut full of parasites.

 

Finn is up to date on all of her shots EXCEPT for her rabies shots, which she hasn't even had yet since my preferred vet doesn't like to give rabies shots until about a year old.

 

she's been acting fine since, save for what seems like an upset belly, but then I've heard not much eats bats because they taste so bad alright.gif, I checked her face/mouth for bites and nothing is bleeding.

 

so should I concider calling the vets in the morning or is it nothing to worry about?

post #2 of 35
Wow, this is a tough one. I'm pretty sure she can't contract rabies from eating the bat, even if it was a carrier. But I'm not 100% sure either. The question is - did she get bitten by the bat while hunting it? If it's a little bat, you might not be able to see the bite.

I know it most likely means your kitty may have to put your kitty into quarantine... but I'd probably call the vet. My husband is saying he wouldn't want one of our cats in quarantine at the vet for two weeks, but at a minimum, we'd isolate the cat in quarantine at home. I don't know if there's a treatment protocol that can be given cats, like there is for humans that get bitten by a rabid animal. dontknow.gif
post #3 of 35

If it were me I'd be calling the vet.  But I'm in Australia, and we have the deadly Hendra virus which is carried by bats - I don't think it exists in the US, if that's where you are. 

But it's still worth the call, just in case there's something you need to do.

post #4 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post

Wow, this is a tough one. I'm pretty sure she can't contract rabies from eating the bat, even if it was a carrier. But I'm not 100% sure either. The question is - did she get bitten by the bat while hunting it? If it's a little bat, you might not be able to see the bite.
I know it most likely means your kitty may have to put your kitty into quarantine... but I'd probably call the vet. My husband is saying he wouldn't want one of our cats in quarantine at the vet for two weeks, but at a minimum, we'd isolate the cat in quarantine at home. I don't know if there's a treatment protocol that can be given cats, like there is for humans that get bitten by a rabid animal. dontknow.gif

 

That's what I was thinking, could she have gotten bitten while playing with it, their teeth are pretty small.  I'm not sure if they have to get bitten, I think it's in the saliva but don't know.  Is there any way to safely retrieve that bat?

 

This puts you in a very difficult position.  You may actually be required to report it.  If there is any chance at all that Finn could have been exposed to rabies, you want to find out what to do now instead of waiting for symptoms.   Rabies is not something to mess around with.

 

I am so afraid of getting unnecessary vaccines and for some reason I worry about the safety of rabies vaccine.  My only 'outdoor' kitty Cricket usually goes out with me, or stays very close.  I live in the country . My other cat was indoor only.  So I wasn't getting the annual boosters on either cat when Toby was still alive for several years. 

 

There have been so many recent cases of rabies in my state it's alarming. Here in this county a rabid bat got into a home and all their (indoor) cats had to be quarantined because they weren't vaccinated.  So I got Cricket and the kittens vaccinated since I have seen bats outside here. I hope my kittens weren't too young.  I wonder if bats hibernate, could this have waited until next spring.

 

How scary.  Good luck and please keep us posted.   


Edited by TobyTyler - 10/26/12 at 9:17pm
post #5 of 35

oh, i'm so sorry this happened. as far as i know, although rare, the rabies virus can be passed on to cat who caught and ate an infected bat. according to the north dakota department of health rabies program, "the rabies virus is found in the nervous tissue of infected mammals. as the virus works its way to the brain, it begins to be secreted in the saliva of the animal. people and mammals get rabies when infectious saliva is introduced into the body, usually through a bite from an infected animal. rabies transmissions from other types of exposures are extremely rare. these types of exposures include saliva or nervous tissue entering an open wound or saliva or nervous tissue coming into contact with a mucous membrane such as the eyes, nose or mouth." so, i would take your kitty to the vet immediately. just to be safe, i'd separate him/her from any other pets in the home. again, i'm so sorry this happened. sadly, rabies is a fatal infection.

 

jlc20m rbheart.gif kitty.gif

 

post #6 of 35
Thread Starter 

I'm not the worlds biggest fan of the rabies vaccine either, unfortunately if you have outdoor or indoor/outdoor animals they are required here by one year of age.

 

I knew a  guy who's dog GOT rabies from a rabies vaccine walking_tall.gif

 

700

this is what she caught, a big brown bat('cept'n we calls em pine bats, cause you can after see them roosting on the trunks of pine trees around here), the most common species around here, they get to be about 2 inches long and have some wicked teeth, so I'm pretty sure if it had of bit her on the paws/face there would be blood (my mom got bit by one once and she bled like stuck pig for a good hour or more)

 

She's acting fine now, she did a bit of heaving for a while but that was it, she is mad at me now because I gave her a bath incase she picked up any mites or other freaky little bugs .

 

I am gonna call the vet tomorrow and see what I should do though.

post #7 of 35

Keep that bat!

post #8 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TobyTyler View Post

Keep that bat!

 

lol, that isn't the one she had, the one she had had already been half nommed, and I'm pretty sure she ate the rest of it, I just caught sight of the fur color and the black wing.

 

I love bats, personally I think they are adorable, but if they make my cat sick doh2.gif

post #9 of 35
Well, you CAN do something about it, even if the bat HAS rabies.
When my mom was bitten by a chimpanzee (yep, they can be rabid), she took 10 days of rabies vaccines as a precaution. But you need to act fast - like on the next day/couple of days or something - that's how it was done to my mom..... If the bat is rabid and kitty develops the disease, by that time it is too late and 100% lethal.
So....... Not sure if the protocol for dogs/cats are the same for humans, but I would be calling the vet for sure - better safe then sorry on something that might have 100% mortality if there is a substantial risk....

Can you identify the bat?
Most of them eat fruit and insects only and might not impose a risk at all wavey.gif
post #10 of 35

agree.gif I thought it seemed in awfully good shape, lol.  I think bats are adorable as well and they certainly are here for a reason.  Let's just keep our fingers crossed that everything is ok and Finn has not been exposed to rabies.  Again, please keep us posted.

post #11 of 35
Go to your county department of health website right now and find out what to do..Usually, for after hours, they give you a police number, and the police takes your info and the public health nurse on call calls you back and tells you what to do.

I am sorry this happened, but for everyone's safety, because your cat is not yet vaccinated, this needs to be reported right away.

Quote:
Well, you CAN do something about it, even if the bat HAS rabies.
When my mom was bitten by a chimpanzee (yep, they can be rabid), she took 10 days of rabies vaccines as a precaution.

The post exposure vaccine is for humans only. It doesn't work for animals.

Quote:
I knew a guy who's dog GOT rabies from a rabies vaccine walking_tall.gif

Impossible. The rabies vaccine is made up of dead virus. The vaccine cannot cause the mammal vaccinated to have rabies.
post #12 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by otto View Post

Go to your county department of health website right now and find out what to do..Usually, for after hours, they give you a police number, and the police takes your info and the public health nurse on call calls you back and tells you what to do.
I am sorry this happened, but for everyone's safety, because your cat is not yet vaccinated, this needs to be reported right away.
 

Gibbly, otto is right. This is really not something to mess with.

post #13 of 35

WOW!  What a story.  I wonder how the kitty caught the bat.  Makes me wonder if the bat wasn't sick with something already and made it too weak to get away quickly.  I wouldn't want to quarrantine my cat either but if I had to I would do it at home. 

 

I would definitely contact my vet and probably do what Otto suggested.  I'd do this only because I would be dealing with a completely unknown thing to me and even though the cat is acting normally I'd at least want peace of mind.  Good luck with this and I'll be following this thread with the hope you keep us updated smile.gif
 

post #14 of 35
The incubation period for rabies is 10 days to 6 months. An un-vaccinated cat will have to be quarantined for 6 months.

The reason I know all this off the tip of my tongue is because there was a bat in my ceiling a few weeks ago and I was terrified about rabies exposure. Not for my cats, as they are vaccinated, but for myself. I made a lot of phone calls, thinking I should get the shots, even went to Urgent Care, but was told over and over that since I never saw the bat IN the apartment, only the ceiling, I was not exposed to the bat in any way. Since rabies is taken very seriously where I live, I had to accept these answers from the experts, but I will probably not rest easy until those six months have passed, anyway.
post #15 of 35
Jamie catches (but doesn't kill) bats on a regular basis, and his vets have warned me to keep him UTD on his rabies shots. Googling "ingesting rabid animals" led me to these (official) links:

new.dhh.louisiana.gov/assets/oph/Center-PHCH/Center-CH/infectious-epi/EpiManual/RabiesSummary.pdf : http://new.dhh.louisiana.gov/assets/oph/Center-PHCH/Center-CH/infectious-epi/EpiManual/RabiesSummary.pdf
Quote:
Meat: Consumption of meat from an infected animal as carnivorous animals eat sick or dead rabid animals. About 150 rabid cattle yearly in
U.S. Best not to consume tissues and milk from rabid animals.
U.S. law: animals showing neurological conditions are not to be consumed after 7 days after presumed infection date. Meat (muscle)
of an animal dead of rabies contains very little virus. Thoroughly cooked, dried or salted meat present no risk to the consumer. The
real risk is to the processors -- cutting up the animal, chiefly brain, spinal cord or salivary glands.
Quote:
Source: Infected animals: saliva, meat, neural tissue, kidney, prostate, pancreas and other tissues and body fluids. If well-cooked, meat is
deemed to be safe.

Wildlife disease - Rabies - How do you catch it? : http://nwco.net/044-WildlifeDiseases/4-1-1-HowDoYouCatchIt.asp
Quote:
That said, if the animal's head has been damaged, there could be spinal tissue or fluid mixed in with splattered blood. Animals may catch rabies by eating infected animals.

Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control, 2011 : http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr6006a1.htm
Quote:
Rabies virus is widely distributed in tissues of rabid animals (52--54). Tissues and products from a rabid animal should not be used for human or animal consumption (55,56) or transplantation (57). Pasteurization and cooking inactivate rabies virus (58); therefore, inadvertently drinking pasteurized milk or eating thoroughly cooked animal products does not constitute a rabies exposure.

Since the bat obviously wasn't cooked and it was consumed almost entirely, you'd better contact your vet asap.
post #16 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by otto View Post


Impossible. The rabies vaccine is made up of dead virus. The vaccine cannot cause the mammal vaccinated to have rabies.

actually it IS possible, just like it's possible to get the flu after recieving a flu vaccine, cats have been known to get distemper after getting distemper vaccines. they may use the dead virus, but often not all the cells are dead.

 

in this case the guys dog was fine for about 3 weeks after the vaccine, then began to act oddly, was taken to the vet and was confirmed that the dog had rabies, most likely as a result of receiving the rabies vaccine which contained the some still live cells.

 

 

at any rate, I called the vet first thing this morning, and explained what happened, they told be that the chances of getting rabies from consuming a possibly rabid animal is extremely low, especially in cats because their stomach acids are pretty kick ass (not actually what the guy said xD) and the can handle almost every kind of virus. they then called the states agricultural place for me since I wasn't sure how to go about it, and told me that the lady there said there has not been a case of bat rabies in this area in over 10 years, so there's nothing to worry about, and to report it again if Finn begins to act strangely

 

the vet also said that she most likely was able to catch the bat because this time of year they are looking for places to hibernate, and as it gets cold, they slow down, and are easier to catch.


Edited by Gibbly - 10/27/12 at 6:13am
post #17 of 35
I'm glad the experts concur that there is very little risk to your kitty!

It is not possible to get rabies from the rabies vaccine. The dog must have been previously exposed. Unlike with humans, once exposed, the vaccine will not prevent the disease, even if it is given before symptoms show.
post #18 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibbly View Post

 

 

they then called the states agricultural place for me since I wasn't sure how to go about it, and told me that the lady there said there has not been a case of bat rabies in this area in over 10 years, so there's nothing to worry about, and to report it again if Finn begins to act strangely

 

the vet also said that she most likely was able to catch the bat because this time of year they are looking for places to hibernate, and as it gets cold, they slow down, and are easier to catch

 

Gibbly, we didn't have any confirmed rabies cases period in my county when I first moved here, but now it's grown into an epidemic in just a few years.   Very frightening.  I understand it is a very agonizing death, poor creatures.  We also are seeing a new disease in bats here that causes their nose to turn into a white powder mildew.   It is always fatal to the bat.  I don't think they know enough about  transmission but it's highly contagious among bats.

 

Thanks about the hibernation information.  I figured they must go into hibernation in the winter. I have noticed the bats around here have gotten far more closer when I'm outside in the summer evenings than I have seen in the past.  I hope they are safe and sleeping in their warm caves away from danger for now. 


Edited by TobyTyler - 10/27/12 at 7:36am
post #19 of 35

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NutroMike View Post

WOW!  What a story.  I wonder how the kitty caught the bat.  Makes me wonder if the bat wasn't sick with something already and made it too weak to get away quickly.  I wouldn't want to quarrantine my cat either but if I had to I would do it at home. 
 

In my state/county I don't believe you have the option of home quarantine.  And six months of quarantine can be quite expensive, not to mention the stress on the cat and it's human.

post #20 of 35

Well, I guess I am lucky. My cats are indoor outdoor, they have caught, played with, held in their mouth, and killed a few bats on several occasions. But no bats got eaten. Are you sure Finn ate it? My cats often refuse to surrender their prey to me when I try to get it from them but later I find their "trophies" on my doorstep or somewhere in the garden. 

post #21 of 35
Oh what a relief! clap.gifclap.gifclap.gif
post #22 of 35

I really wouldn't worry about it. I have heard (and believe) that bats are not carriers of rabies any more than other animals. There IS a chance that it had rabies but it isn't likely. Of course it depends where you live. Is there lots of rabies cases around you? If so I would definatly bring her to the vet and see what he has to say.

post #23 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosti View Post

I really wouldn't worry about it. I have heard (and believe) that bats are not carriers of rabies any more than other animals. There IS a chance that it had rabies but it isn't likely. Of course it depends where you live. Is there lots of rabies cases around you? If so I would definatly bring her to the vet and see what he has to say.

 

That's not true.  Bats are notorious carriers of rabies.  All the confirmed rabies cases in this county have been in bats only.  Again, we are talking epidemic in many areas like mine that were once rabies free. Rabies is 100% fatal with a slow and agonizing death.  It is entirely preventable in our pets.  I think it needs to be considered very serious if any (unvaccinated) cat comes in contact with a bat, dead or alive, IMO.  As I said in an earlier post, a rabid bat got into a mutli-cat household nearby.  All of those cats were not vaccinated because they were indoor cats.  All had to go into quarantine for 6 months even though none were bitten.  This was not a home quarantine, btw. 

post #24 of 35
post #25 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by aeevr View Post

Some actual facts.

http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/bats/education/

Hey thanks for this link.  It's great information for looking up any disease!  

 

In reading through the information on bats and rabies, it says any unvaccinated cat/dog that comes into contact with a bat that can't be retrieved for testing should be considered to have been exposed to rabies.  It goes on to say that any such animal should be immediately euthanized, or if the owner is unwilling to do that, the animal must be quarantined for a period of at least 6 months and be released only with a vaccine.  Because this is such a serious health threat, they are not going to allow you to just observe the animal at home to see if symptoms develop. 

 

Rabies is in EVERY STATE in the U.S. and Puerto Rico,  except Hawaii, where any domestic animals brought in are put into quarantine. 

post #26 of 35
Ya know, my vet (an old farm vet) will just vaccinate an animal who's had contact with a wild animal. No big deal made of it unless the wild animal is confirmed rabid (bats are, in general, no more likely to be rabid than a skunk or a fox. . .but that's still a fair chance). He says the rabies vaccine acts as a post-exposure vaccine as well, if you do it fast enough.

I'm amazed your vet gives rabies vaccines at one year for outdoor pets! That seems like an awful risk. I've never heard of any professional recommending waiting longer than 6 months. In fact, I think it's required by 4 or 6 months in this state. . .I should look that up.
post #27 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willowy View Post

I'm amazed your vet gives rabies vaccines at one year for outdoor pets! That seems like an awful risk. I've never heard of any professional recommending waiting longer than 6 mo innths. In fact, I think it's required by 4 or 6 months in this state. . .I should look that up.

I had never heard of this either.  Mine were vaccinated at 4 months and they don't go outside. That's why I was wondering if I should have waited. 

 

I'm also amazed that the vet is going to the "states agriculture place" to get current rabies data as I believe it's the county health department that maintains this database.  I am also amazed that the vet didn't say to bring her in right away to get the rabies shot since she is obviously being exposed to bats and still goes outside.

 

But what I find particularly amazing is their showing absolutely no concern and are tellling the OP to "report back if Finn begins acting strangely."  By that time how many humans and animals would have been exposed?  Are there children in this household or in the area where this outdoor cat is hanging around?   The vaccine must be administered immediately for it to be effective in human exposure to rabies virus.  There is no veterinary professional that I know of that would take such a casual approach to a presumed - according to the CDC - exposure to rabies.

 

Otto knew this information fresh from a recent experience and told the OP exactly "how to go about things" on Friday night.  I'm sorry, but things are just not adding up here.   


Edited by TobyTyler - 10/28/12 at 6:44am
post #28 of 35
Thread Starter 

Ok, first of all not all vets are the same, rabies vaccines are administered here at 1 year, and again at 3 years, 5 years ect. ect. every two yeats the same with dogs.

 

the rabies vaccine is hell on the animals system and older animals handle it better than younger ones.

 

y'all are assuming that the bat HAD rabies, and while I know that something like 90% of bats DO carry rabies, there's that 10% that don't doh3.gif

 

there is no "rabies protocol" here out in the sticks, just because a cat caught a bat doesn't mean it has rabies.

 

 

 

as I said, there has not been a case of bat rabies in this area for years, foxes, raccoons, possums and the occasional feral dog? yes. bats? no.

 

 

I did a bit of reading myself, and it turns out that the reason most bats carry rabies is because most live in such disgusting enviromnents, like caves, or they contract rabies from eating insects which are harboring the desease in their guts.

 

Big brown bats are mostly solitary and do not roost in such large groups, and they roost mostly on tree trunks (as I mentioned previously)

 

rabies is NOT an air borne virus, it has to be entered directly into the blood stream.

 

 

and since everyone seems to want to jump to conclusions without asking, as seems to be protocol on this site, I found another vet about 3 hours away that does give rabies vaccines at 6 months and was thinking of taking her there.

post #29 of 35
Rabies vaccine is usually given at 12 weeks, at the earliest. Where I live, it is the law that cats be vaccinated against rabies when they are 12 weeks old, and boosters must be kept up to date. Most vets around here now use the PureVax exclusively for domestic cats, which has not been approved for anything but one year, yet.

Vets do keep some of the 3 year-adjuvanted vaccine to hand, to vaccinate feral and barn cats, but agree that the safety of the PureVax non-adjuvanted vaccine, is preferable.
post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibbly View Post

Ok, first of all not all vets are the same, rabies vaccines are administered here at 1 year, and again at 3 years, 5 years ect. ect. every two yeats the same with dogs.

 

the rabies vaccine is hell on the animals system and older animals handle it better than younger ones.

 

y'all are assuming that the bat HAD rabies, and while I know that something like 90% of bats DO carry rabies, there's that 10% that don't doh3.gif

 

there is no "rabies protocol" here out in the sticks, just because a cat caught a bat doesn't mean it has rabies.

 

 

 

as I said, there has not been a case of bat rabies in this area for years, foxes, raccoons, possums and the occasional feral dog? yes. bats? no.

 

 

I did a bit of reading myself, and it turns out that the reason most bats carry rabies is because most live in such disgusting enviromnents, like caves, or they contract rabies from eating insects which are harboring the desease in their guts.

 

Big brown bats are mostly solitary and do not roost in such large groups, and they roost mostly on tree trunks (as I mentioned previously)

 

rabies is NOT an air borne virus, it has to be entered directly into the blood stream.

 

 

and since everyone seems to want to jump to conclusions without asking, as seems to be protocol on this site, I found another vet about 3 hours away that does give rabies vaccines at 6 months and was thinking of taking her there.

Gibbly, please do everyone a favor and read the CDC link that was provided.  Then do some further research on the same site on Rabies Virus. The information you are sharing is incorrect and dangerous. The rabies virus is NOT harbored in the guts of insects!  Vaccines do NOT cause rabies.

 

And it is the CDC that  establishes the "protocol" for communicable disease exposure.   Accordingly, your cat is considered to have been exposed to rabies by having contact with a bat that couldn't be tested. Any professional would take that very seriously.  There is rabies in your area,  just because it's not in bats in your area as you say doesn't mean your bat didn't have it.

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