WACO, Texas – A kitten diagnosed with rabies is raising concerns in a Central Texas city.
The City of Valley Mills put out the word after someone found the animal. Officials are urging everyone to be careful when coming in contact with an animal that is not their own.
“It’s really amazing we don’t have more rabid animals presented then we do,” says Cary Bielamowicz, a local veterinarian.
The kitten was found on Thursday, so the search is on to find out if it spread the disease to its litter mates and any adult cats.
Valley Mills officials are urging everyone to remain cautious when coming in contact with a strange animal.
“The most important thing is to stay away from it. Just monitor where it’s at. Contact the local authorities. Most everybody has a local rabies authority that they can get a hold of or a sheriff’s department, the county,” Bielamowicz says.
If you think you’ve found an animal with rabies, you should report it – but don’t touch it.
“There are two different forms. There’s dumb rabies…they’re just very dull. And then of course you’ve got rabies where they actually show pretty severe neurological signs,” Bielamowicz says.
If you’re a pet owner, you should make sure your four-legged friend is protected from the disease.
“Vaccinate pets at three months of age, and then a year later. Most of vaccines are three-year rabies vaccines,” Bielamowicz says.
Once your pet is vaccinated, always make sure to have their vaccination tag on their collar.
“Pets are being allowed into motels, national parks, state parks, so it’s very important to keep that paperwork with you. I highly suggest also getting them micro-chipped so you can associate the rabies vaccine with the microchip and the owner,” Bielamowicz says.