DHHS seeks info about rabid cat dumped at Bedford animal shelter

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Animal Rescue League of Bedford.

CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is requesting that anyone with knowledge about a cat identified with rabies that was recently left at the Animal Rescue League of NH to immediately call (603) 271-4496.

Before 9 a.m. on Friday March 9, an unidentified light-colored, four door sedan left an injured cat at the door of the Animal Rescue League of NH, located at 545 Rte. 101 in Bedford, New Hampshire. The cat was a gray tabby, young adult female which may have recently given birth to kittens. The cat was quarantined, but later died and tested positive for rabies. DHHS is collaborating with the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture to investigate the potential for other animal or human exposures before the cat was dropped off at the Animal Rescue League of NH in Bedford.

“Rabies is a fatal illness that is usually transmitted through the bite of an infected animal,” said State Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Abigail Mathewson. “But rabies is preventable when people and animals receive treatment quickly after they have been exposed to this virus through infected animal saliva.”

Rabies occurs worldwide, and although human infections are extremely rare in the United States, infections occur when people are scratched or bitten by an infected animal and do not seek appropriate treatment. Individuals who pick up or feed stray animals and wildlife should be aware that animals may carry rabies or other diseases that can infect people. Stray animals should undergo the appropriate veterinary inspection and quarantine to prevent the spread of these diseases when they are rescued or adopted. By law, all dogs, cats, and ferrets should have up-to-date rabies vaccinations. It is highly recommended that certain livestock species also receive rabies vaccination.

Anyone with questions about rabies can call the New Hampshire Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at 603-271-4496. More information is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov.