Cat tests positive for rabies in southern Alberta after biting owner, owner's son

An Alberta veterinary clinic says a domestic cat has tested positive for rabies.

It's the 1st non-bat case of rabies in the province this year

A file photo shows a veterinarian preparing an injection for a cat. A cat in southern Alberta has tested positive for rabies. (The Canadian Press)

An Alberta veterinary clinic says a domestic cat has tested positive for rabies.

The Southern Alberta Veterinary Emergency clinic in Okotoks posted on Facebook Wednesday evening that the nine-year-old, indoor-outdoor cat lived on a farm near Longview, where it bit the owner and the owner's son.

The clinic said both humans were treated, and the Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian was notified the cat had tested positive.

Only 4th domestic animal to test positive recently

It's the first animal that's not a bat to test positive for rabies in Alberta this year, and just the fourth in the past 12 years.

The SAVE clinic said in 2010 and 2006 there were confirmed cases of cats with rabies, and in 2013 there was a puppy in Calgary that tested positive for the arctic fox variant of rabies.

Four other cats and two dogs on the property have been given post-exposure vaccinations and are being held in quarantine for three months, the clinic wrote.

SAVE also said the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) determined the cat most likely had the bat variant of the virus. 

According to the CFIA, there have been eight cases of rabies in bats this year in Alberta.

"Even though rabies does occur at a low rate in our province, it is important to remember that only through vaccination of our pets can we protect their health and in turn, human health," wrote the SAVE clinic in their Facebook post.

Rabies is a viral disease that's nearly always fatal to both humans and animals, according to the CFIA. All cases of rabies must be reported to the CFIA and the Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian within 24 hours. The rabies hotline is 1-844-427-6847.

Signs of rabies include aggression, difficulty breathing, excessive salivation and abnormal behaviour.

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