A bat with rabies attacked a pet cat in Spokane County last week – the first known rabies case in the county this year.
After receiving veterinary care, the cat is in isolation and will remain under observation for 45 days, according to a news release from the Spokane Regional Health District.
A deadly virus that attacks the central nervous system, any mammal can contract rabies, but in Washington state the disease is most commonly found among bats. In other states, raccoons, skunks, foxes and coyotes are known to carry rabies.
The Washington State Department of Health on Saturday confirmed the bat had rabies. It is the eighth case of rabies among bats in the state this year.
Dogs, cats and ferret owners are required to have their pets vaccinated against rabies. Each year, some 400-600 animals are tested for the virus in Washington, mostly bats, according to the Department of Health. The last documented time an animal in Washington other than a bat contracted rabies was in 2015 when a bat bit a cat and the cat contracted the virus. It has been almost 30 years since a human in Washington contracted rabies.
Since bats are most active at night, the health district recommends pet owners bring their animals inside overnight, keep doors and windows closed unless there’s a screen and close pet doors.
If an animal catches or is attacked by a bat, it is recommended an owner call the health district at (509) 324-1560, Ext. 7.