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Question
Hello,

We just adopted a stray cat. She's very sweet and loving but we don't know anything about her background other than she was living wild in a forested area for a few months before we decided to take her in. She has been spayed but it appears to have been done when she was a kitten as the scar is very small. The vet said she was about a year old and he gave her a rabies shot along with her other vaccines.

I am a little concerned because I have four children and we don't know the cat's vaccination history. I worry that she may have been exposed to rabies while out in the woods, and that it's possible she might develop the illness and then expose my family.

How long after exposure would a cat begin to show symptoms, and does receiving the vaccine an unknown amount of time afterwards offer any protection? Also, do you think it's likely that she's already been vaccinated given that she's been spayed? If she was spayed as a kitten, could she have been vaccinated at the same time or does the first vaccine have to be given later?

I guess I'm just looking for some information about how long I have to keep worrying about this.

Thanks in advance
Sarah

Answer
Hi Sarah,
I think that the kitten is already vaccinated during spaying.Even if it was vaccinated at an earlier date,a shot now would be considered as a booster only.So there is nothing to worry about in this regard.Do follow the vaccination regimen as advised by your vet.

You may please refer to the CDC guidelines regarding exposure to rabies. According to CDC,Ten days quarantine  period is fixed for observation of the  animals like Dogs ,Cats and Ferrets in doubtful cases of exposure. It also states that  the persons in contact with the animals should not begin vaccination unless animal develops clinical signs of rabies.So if it is more than ten days you are in possession of the cat and if it is healthy and fine, I think you can stop worrying about this.

Please follow the link for more http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/exposure/animals/domestic.html  

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Dr S Bindu Anand

Expertise

Large and Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, Farm Management,Preventive medicine http://binduanand.webs.com/

Experience

A Senior Veterinary Surgeon with more than 25 years’ experience in the field of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry. Mixed animal Practice that will utilize my skills in medicine and surgery, public health, client relations, and developing relationships within the community, such as humane society

Organizations
Veterinary Consultant with Department of Animal Resources,Ministry of Environment,State of Qatar (Present). Animal Husbandry Department, Government of Kerala, India. Oakland's Park, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom. Severnside Veterinary Center, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom. Saud Bahwan Group, Sultanate of Oman. Trivandrum Regional Co-operative Milk Producers Union,Kerala,India.

Education/Credentials
BVSc & AH (Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry) 1990. College of Veterinary & Animal Sciences, Mannuthy, Thrissur, Kerala, India under Kerala Agricultural University. Certificates Of Accomplishments- Equine Nutrition- University of Edinburgh Principles of Public Health-University of California, Irvine. AIDS- Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. General Environmental Health – EPHOC-Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. Food Protection-EPHOC-Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. Zoonoses:University of Minnesota-School of Public Health online. Food Safety:University of Minnesota-School of Public Health online. Occupational Safety and Health-EPHOC-Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. Rabies Educator Certified -Global Alliance for Rabies Control. Animal Handler & Vaccinator Educator Certified -Global Alliance for Rabies Control. Wildlife Conservation-United for Wildlife

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