BIRDSBORO, PA – A stray cat picked up by the Animal Rescue League of Berks County tested positive for rabies on Friday, December 28, 2018 following its pick up by an animal control officer from the Animal Rescue League of Berks County on Sunday, December 23, 2018. The cat was picked up in the 100 block of Orchard View Road in Douglassville after a concerned citizen called the ARL when he noticed the stray cat acting erratically, staggering and struggling to keep its balance. The cat was taken to an area animal hospital for further evaluation, where their veterinarian suspected the cat was rabid. To confirm the diagnosis, the cat had to be euthanized for testing, and a positive diagnosis was received by the hospital on Friday.

All who interacted with the cat from the time of the animal control call to the time of the cat’s death have received rabies vaccinations or boosters. However, anyone who may have interacted with this cat previously​ should contact their healthcare provider immediately. If left untreated, rabies can be a deadly disease in humans.

Rabies symptoms vary significantly by species. If you live in the Douglassville area and note an animal acting strangely, please contact the ARL immediately at 610-373-8830. For further details on the rabies virus, including how it’s transmitted, its effects on animals and humans, as well as how to identify a rabid animal, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/index.html

To minimize exposure to rabies and other risks, the ARL recommends that all pet owners should keep their pets from freely roaming outdoors. Further, the ARL is reminding all pet owners on the importance of their pets receiving a yearly rabies vaccine to keep their pets safe.