Picture this. I’m driving home from the airport and get a call from my wife who’s locked in the bedroom with our kids because a bat is flying around the house. It’s not necessarily a big deal, except for the fact I thought I might have seen a bat in the house a couple days earlier, and a bat in a house with access to sleeping people = rabies exposure! I’ll save you the long but somewhat funny saga, and just say I eventually caught the bat. Our sigh of relief was short-lived, however, because it came back rabies positive. That meant we all needed rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (2 shots for Heather and I who have been vaccinated, but 6 shots for each of the kids). We also have a dog and cat, and they had to be considered exposed as well (the cat almost caught the bat). The cat, Finnegan, is an indoor cat but was vaccinated. The repercussions on the animals were much less than on us. However, if they had not been vaccinated, we would have had a problem.
Protocols for rabies exposure in non-vaccinated animals vary between jurisdictions, but long quarantines are the norm, and euthanasia often is chosen.

The take home message is, even with indoor-only animals….if you care about yourself, your family and your pets, vaccinate your pets against rabies. In most places it’s the law. It’s also good sense.

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  • Linda

    I too was ignorant about vaccinating my cats because they are indoor. This ignorance has come to haunt me as Sat. night we had a bat in our house and our grandcat caught it by it’s wing. My husband killed it and animal control came to take it to be tested, but since yesterday was MLK day, it has not been tested yet. I had to take the cat to the vet and they are keeping it there until the results come back. My Mother just passed away 3 weeks ago, which I was not doing well with, and now I am a wreck. I have appointments for the other 2 cats to get vaccinated next week. My daughter is never going to forgive me if the bat comes back positive, but I’m not quite sure I will ever be able to forgive myself. I was going to take the cats in for their vaccinations last October, but my husband had broken his neck (he will be fine) and I just kept putting it off. I have lived in my house for 23 years and have never seen a bat before…….