WBZ-TV

May 2, 2008

Owners Treated For Rabies After Cats Get Disease

Originally broadcast on WBZ-TV Boston

CAPE COD (WBZ)—Two Cape Cod residents are receiving rabies shots after their pet cats were diagnosed with the disease.

It is the first time domestic pets on Cape Cod have ever tested positive for rabies, which is potentially fatal to humans.

Dr. Thomas Burns, president of the Cape Cod Veterinary Medical Association, told the Cape Cod Times that the discovery of the disease in two domestic animals has dire public health implications.

Burns said cats are a "perfect bridge" for disease to humans. But Burns said only about a third of Cape Cod cats are vaccinated for rabies.

Rabies can be fatal in humans if untreated. It is spread through the saliva of an infected animal through a bite or scratch.

He is urging residents to make sure their cats, as well as dogs and other domestic pets are vaccinated.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, seven cats and one dog have tested positive for rabies in 2008. Click here to learn how you can protect your pets from getting sick.

Copyright 2008, CBS Broadcasting, Inc.