Pope County cat tests positive for rabies virus

Publish Date

Rabies transmission is still a risk despite cold weather.

A six-year-old, male, outdoor cat in Pope County tested positive for rabies on January 3, 2018. This is the first domestic animal to test positive for rabies in 2018. The owners observed the cat behaving oddly on January 2, exhibiting signs of in coordination and struggling to breathe. They elected to bring him indoors for observation and care. He died on January 3 and was submitted to the North Dakota State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for rabies testing.

According to the owners of the cat, skunks are frequently seen on their property. Four rabies vaccinated horses and three unvaccinated outdoor (barn) cats currently reside on the premises. The Board of Animal Health is investigating and will make recommendations to mitigate risk of rabies developing in these animals.

The Minnesota Department of Health has advised post-exposure prophylaxis for the cat owners who both were exposed to the cat just prior to his death.

For information on rabies in animals and to view a map of positive cases in Minnesota visit the Board’s website. For questions on rabies exposure to domestic animals call 651-201-6808. If you have questions concerning rabies exposure in people, please contact the Minnesota Department of Health at 651-201-5414.

The Board recommends all dogs, cats, ferrets, and horses be currently vaccinated against the rabies virus. In the event an animal is exposed or potentially exposed, pets should be rabies vaccinated within 96 hours of exposure.