Rabid kitten discovered in North Baltimore

August 23, 2008|By Julie Scharper | Julie Scharper,Sun reporter

A stray kitten that wandered into a North Baltimore backyard this month had rabies, the first city cat or dog found to have the disease in more than 20 years, officials said yesterday.

Two people who tried to help the kitten are receiving medical treatment. Others who are concerned that they or their pets may have had contact with the kitten are asked to call the Bureau of Animal Control.

The cream-colored male tabby kitten was found in a yard in the 7100 block of Marlborough Drive, near the city-county line, Aug. 5. The kitten, which appeared to be about 4 months old, was wounded on his back and a hind leg, said Bob Anderson, the director of the Animal Control Bureau.

Two residents, whose names were not released, took the kitten to a vet who, concerned that the kitten had rabies, sent it to a state lab where it was found to have the disease, Anderson said.

Yesterday, after being notified by the state about the kitten, animal control investigators fanned out through the neighborhood talking to residents and leaving fliers in mailboxes.

The last rabid dog or cat in the city was found in 1986. Usually only wild animals such as raccoons, foxes and bats are found with the disease in Baltimore. Three wild animals were diagnosed with rabies this year, Anderson said.

Rabies is a virus that is most often transmitted by a bite. Left untreated, it is almost always fatal in humans.

In domestic animals, rabies manifests either by causing excessive drooling and a "frenzied state" in which an animal "attacks anything or everything" or, on the opposite side of the spectrum, extreme lethargy.

"When you see something abnormal, take it to the vet," Anderson said.

City residents who wish to get their pets vaccinated at a low cost may bring them to the Baltimore Animal Rescue Care Center at 301 Stockholm St. in South Baltimore on the first Saturday of each month, Anderson said.

julie.scharper@baltsun.com

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