On December 10, 2021 a male 18-week-old kitten tested positive for rabies, marking the first feline and first domestic animal to test positive in Minnesota in 2021.
On December 6, the owner took the unvaccinated kitten to a veterinarian because he was acting strangely. The veterinarian noted a fever (103.8 Fahrenheit) and an abscess on the kitten’s abdomen. The owner reported observing signs of trauma including missing hair from his tail and a wound on his abdomen roughly two weeks before the kitten was taken to the clinic.
Neurologic symptoms worsened into the following day and the kitten stopped eating on Wednesday, December 8. The kitten was euthanized later that day and tested positive for rabies on Friday December 10.
A vaccinated dog and an unvaccinated kitten reside in the household of the positive kitten. The dog received a booster rabies vaccine and was placed under a 45-day observation. The surviving kitten, a littermate, was vaccinated on December 9 and officially quarantined by the Board of Animal Health for 180 days.
An investigation conducted by a Board agent identified the original home where this kitten was adopted. The home also adopted out three littermates to separate homes. All three are currently vaccinated and not exhibiting clinical signs consistent with rabies. The Board recommended observation of these kittens as a precaution.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) interviewed all members of the household and nine staff members at the veterinary clinic that provided care for the rabid kitten. The MDH recommended post exposure prophylaxis for four members of the household and one veterinary clinic staff member.
If you have questions about suspected or confirmed rabies exposure to domestic animals call 651-201-6808.
If you have questions concerning rabies exposure in people, please contact the Minnesota Department of Health at 651-201-5414.
All dogs, cat, ferrets, and horses should be currently vaccinated against the rabies virus. In the event an animal is exposed or potentially exposed, pets should receive a rabies vaccination booster within 96 hours of exposure.