Recently I was bitten by an unvaccinated cat from our neighborhood. After many calls to my Health Department and Poison Control, I was advised by my medical doctor to start Rabies Injections as a precaution. This experience has wreaked havoc on more than my emotions. It has taught me first hand the importance of vaccinating all pets and animals against this deadly disease. Something I wish my neighbor had learned long ago.
In record time, my neighbor had over twenty cats. Because of the astounding number, she was unable to vaccinate or provide adequate medical care for them. After many of the cats became ill and died she had someone trap all that they could and take them to another location.
In the end, only one remained. She became the neighborhood stray. It was hard not to feel compassion and put food out as she looked close to death and always hungry. My son and other neighborhood kids called her “Charlotte.”
As I sat on my porch, “Charlotte” must have jumped up and moved under my rocking chair. I did not know what had happened when I first felt the burning pain of her mouth clamped down on the back of my calf. Her mouth was fully attached in a deep bite. I was left with four deep puncture wounds and many scratches from the incident.
As discussed in Associated Content article, “Cat Puncture Bites to Humans Are Highly Infectious,” I found when seeking medical care that 80 percent of cat bites result in serious infections. I quickly received a tetanus shot and my first course of antibiotics. Additionally, I learned that any unvaccinated dog or cat should be quarantined for 10 days to rule out the possibility of Rabies. Animal Control was then notified.
After “Charlotte” was trapped, she managed to escape Animal Control. Based on the history of the other cats, and the lack of knowledge of what they may have died from, It was recommended that I start Rabies Injections. I was told if the cat was recaptured that I could possibly end the treatment.
Rabies Vaccine injections consist of five shots given over a month on different dates along with the initial shots of the Rabies Immune Globulin.
I started shots six days after the initial bite. My first day consisted of three shots. The Rabies Immune Globulin was given to me in both hips and the Rabies Vaccine was administered into my arm. These were given at the hospital, as they were the only location to stock the vaccine.
To say it was very unpleasant would be stating it lightly. The syringes to the Rabies Immune Globulin were some of the biggest I had ever seen and were quiet painful when injected into my hips. The Rabies Vaccine itself felt similar to a Tetanus injection.
I did not sleep that night until nearly morning. The injection sites in my hip area were painful and burned. When I did sleep, I awoke before long and the areas that received the shots felt jittery.
The following day I had a sense of malaise. I felt slightly nauseated and very tired. My legs and arm felt a bit weak and extremely sore as the injections went into the muscles of these areas.
The second round given several days later was a walk in the park but still left me feeling unwell through the following day.
I am very lucky because I did not have to finish these injections. Animal Control was able to trap the cat a second time and it has now been found to be Rabies free.
Financially and emotionally this has been quiet a burden to my family and myself. Several emergency room bills, doctor bills, and prescription bills later, it seems to be mostly over except for the emotionally roller-coaster from which I am still reeling.
What is most disturbing to me is the fact that this could have all been prevented by an eight-dollar Rabies vaccination. If you have animals, please be responsible owners and have your animals vaccinated. It could save someone much heartache and grief along the way if you do. In the rarest of incidents, it might even save a life.