OAKLAND COUNTY, MI – A stray kitten was euthanized in Oakland County after it contracted rabies, state officials announced Tuesday.
According to Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD) State Veterinarian Nora Wineland, the unvaccinated six-month-old kitten was taken to a veterinary practice six weeks ago because it was not eating or drinking.
The kitten was also acting aggressively, was unable to use its hindlimbs and progressively became more ill, officials said.
“While this case is unfortunate, it is not unexpected as rabies is regularly detected in Michigan’s wildlife—particularly in bats and skunks. This means the virus is present, making it important to vaccinate domestic animals against rabies,” Dr. Wineland said in a statement.
“Any mammal, including humans, can be infected with rabies. By vaccinating pets and livestock against the virus and having them avoid contact with wildlife, it protects both animal health and public health.”
Rabies is a viral disease mostly transmitted by a rabid animal bite. In 2022, a total of 47 rabid animals, including this kitten, have been detected in Michigan. The other cases include 45 bats and one skunk that were found across 24 counties in Michigan, officials said.
Dr. Wineland is reminding pet owners to keep their vaccinations against the virus up to date since it serves as “an important barrier” if they are ever exposed to a wild or stray animal that could be carrying the disease.
If you think your animal may have had contact with rabid wildlife, it is important to immediately contact your veterinarian or MDARD at 800-292-3939 to determine the next steps to take.