One case of Rabbit Fever diagnosed in San Diego County

Rabbit Fever is the common name for Tularemia. San Diego County health officials are aware of the one case, and they are searching and doing tests in the area where the sick cat prowled. But they say there is no reason to panic. A cat can be infected with the bacterial disease through contact with a wild animal – like a rabbit – which can be infected through a tick bite. What does Tularemia look like in cats?

“Lethargy, fever, swollen nodes – those signs plus a history that your cat goes outdoors and hunts animals, you should be concerned,” stated San Diego County veterinarian Dr. Nikos Gurfield.

So if your cat is acting strangely, take it to a vet immediately. The bacterial disease Tularemia is very rare. In fact, the folks at the San Diego Humane Society have only seen one case in two decades. Humans can be infected with Tularemia through either tick bites or by touching an infected animal, and it can be fatal if it’s not treated. But there’s only been one recent case of a person getting sick according to the county, and that was in 2005. That person was treated with antibiotics and recovered. If your cat brings a dead animal present to your doorstep, protect yourself.

“Wearing gloves when you dispose of the wild animal, double plastic bags when you get rid of it.”

More tips: stay in the middle of trails while hiking, avoid grassy areas and check your entire body for ticks after a walk.

“You can always protect your cats by keeping them indoors. Letting them roam outside is just a way for them to get into things they shouldn’t,” said Kelly Schry of the San Diego Humane Society.

Health officials say Tularemia cannot be transmitted from person to person. When people are infected though, it can present a fever, swollen glands and fatigue. Again, it is very rare in humans.

Categories: KUSI