Bat Scratch Fever

Everything you always wanted to know about rabies -- but were afraid to touch

Not inexpensive, the combined cost of the shots and doctor's fee (roughly $1,200 to $2,000) may cause even the most rabid bat enthusiast to have second thoughts about picking up a wounded winger.

Still, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of anti-rabies vaccine, causing Craig Levy to wonder why many cat owners still refuse to have their pets vaccinated. (Although Arizona law requires rabies vaccinations for dogs, they are not mandated for felines.)

Echoing the sentiments of other health-care authorities, Levy says, "My feeling is that cats should be vaccinated. Cats are every bit as susceptible to rabies as dogs and may actually have more opportunities to play with bats than a dog does. I hate to say it, but a lot of people look at dogs and cats totally differently as far as a pet goes. Dogs are often seen as a companion animal, while the cat is viewed as semi-feral."

Levy hopes that cat lovers who are loath to spend the money to have their cat vaccinated will think twice if they consider the big-picture economics of what happens should their pet bite somebody or come in contact with a bat.

"If your cat is a vaccinated animal and is current in its vaccinations, you may be able to quarantine it in your own home for 45 days," he points out.

And the alternative? "We can quarantine the animal at your expense for up to six months in an approved facility. Either that or euthanize."

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