Rabies and Bobcat Babies

Baby Bobcat Rescued, Euthanized

OK this is my last rant-like post for the week and a bit of a bummer to start June with but this topic is seriously bugging me and in order to try to purge it from brain, here we go…

Some of you may have seen an article pertaining to Lamia the three week old female bobcat kitten ‘rescued’ in Springfield, Missouri. I’ve included the post mortem article up above.

Someone please remind me, what year is it again 1817? In this day and age where we can remotely start our cars, turn off appliances from hundreds of miles away using a phone app and science can (and did) make an exact copy of a sheep from a collection of cells: why isn’t rabies treatment more or less along the lines of a flu shot? Hmmm?

Now take my mental distress and outrage into context. I am a cat owner and have enjoyed having multiple cats in my household for the better part of 25 years. Yes I know the ‘cat’ from the article is a wild animal, not a housecat but a baby bobcat. In truth many wild animals are hunted and killed or perish trying to cross various roadways every day. Life and subsequent death is hard and unpleasant to contemplate. But human intervention killed this wild animal on the heels of ‘saving’ it. The dude that this controversy spins outward from, apparently had some sort of heart procedure within recent months. This did not stop him from going out and bulldozing or whatever to his property. And so he came across this bobcat kitten. How it unfolded next; the kitten was ‘rescued’ and put into a cage. While the kitten was inside the cage, this guy’s hand came into proximity to the bobcat baby. Acting on instinct, the kitten bit him…and broke the skin with its four baby teeth. The wildlife advocate lady involved advised him to have a medical professional look at the bite and thus started us on this sad and un-necessary Green-Mile-like procession.

Since the bobcat is not a domestic animal, it cannot be quarantined to see if the three stages of rabies present themselves.
Stage one: Prodromal – behavior changes – personality along with eating and drinking radically change
Stage two: Excitative – excitable by outside stimuli causing violent reactions, including lashing out and biting
Stage three: Paralytic – hindquarters ‘freeze’, muscles become rigid, excessively drooling, difficulty breathing (Note: Death is usually caused by respiratory arrest)

One trait shared by the rabies carrier and the infected victim is hydrophobia, which is the historic name for rabies. Because in the throes of stage two, it becomes hard to swallow for the infected and they develop an irrational fear of water. Don’t ask me why, they just do.

So I’m guessing rabies has only been around for like 5-10 years or they would’ve already found a cure right? Nope. Rabies has been around since at least 2000 B.C. according to ancient records in Europe. So fast forward 4000 years…and rabies still exists. I guess this shouldn’t be that surprising because not everyone can live in a controlled upscale community. Just like polio and small pox et al, there are always going to be versions of disease, such as the viral rabies, that exist in corners of the world where medical care consists of wrapping leaves and mud around a cut or bite. But in these United States, where your President is Donald Trump and Kathy Griffin can post a social media picture depicting a ‘joke’ of a decapitated President, how do we not have a laser device on our keychains that can wipe out rabies or a snake bite just by zapping the infected area for 10 seconds? Get Scooby on this mystery ASAP! Dr. Gregory House would’ve figured out how to cure rabies with a banana and an ice cube.

Alright I will move the notches back on the lawn mower deck to cut a little closer. Yes there are cures for snake bites and rabies. You can even Google the specific options for protocols (see the Milwaukee Protocol). You might even be able to run by Walgreens on the way home to have their clinic do it for you depending upon where you live (yeah, I’m talking to you North Dakota).

Let’s establish some facts. 95% of the world’s rabies problem is contained in Africa and Asia. Of the 17,400 cases reported worldwide in 2015, 40% of them were contracted by children under the age of 15. Rabies is transmitted, in general, via scratch or bite from an infected animal. The usual suspects carrying the rabies virus are: dogs, bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes. But the virus is not limited to these animals. The virus can be carried by and transmitted to any warm blooded mammal and it attacks the Central Nervous System. 99% of the world’s rabies transmissions come from dogs but 95% of the Americas rabies cases are attributed to bats. If that is confusing, just refer back to the first sentence in this paragraph where Africa and Asia predominantly hold the world’s rabies problem.

On the home front, home being North America, there were 49 confirmed cases of rabies from 1995 through 2011 and almost all of those were attributed to bats. A fun little bit of information, birds can be infected with rabies, as scientists intentionally did in the middle 1900’s. But they produce antibodies that fight off the virus. If not can you imagine the worldwide epidemic that could be spread by the trillions of birds? As if millions of people didn’t already suffer from Ornithophobia.

Today is June the first or June 1, 2017. There are 120 days until World Rabies Day (September 28th). What does that ribbon look like?

Besides the information contained above, what is my point here? Well for one that yes I can be a bit informative in addition to entertaining. And two, this baby bobcat was put to death for virtually no reason. I am going to tell you right now in writing that the test on this beheaded baby bobcat is going to come back negative for rabies. Do the math, 49 cases of rabies in North America from 1995 to 2011 – that equates out on average to 3 legit occurrences per year. The guy who got bit doesn’t have rabies. This baby bobcat who was earmarked to live in captivity for the rest of its life, got three weeks on the books and extinguished by a virtual form somewhere. The guy who got bit while ‘clearing his land’ after a heart procedure was not a candidate for the vaccine. He was offered the (if necessary) cure at zero cost by interest groups who lobbied to save this tiny creature’s life. The number one option taken to check for rabies in a suspected (apparently not innocent until proven guilty here) animal is to kill it, behead it and extract brain cells to check for (and the majority of the time not find) rabies virus. How many thousands of animals a year are destroyed for fear of this often not present virus? Granted full blown rabies is painful and deadly to humans and animals alike but guess what…you can get an immediate treatment and be OK most of the time. Something that is also neglected to be acknowledged…you can test for rabies with saliva, urine and cerebrospinal fluid. I’m not sure what that third option is but the other two do not require decapitation. Duly noted that the other options are not 100% accurate all the time, but heck condoms are on the market and they are not 100% effective either.

It just goes to show that we are a blood thirsty society and wrong place, wrong time examples like Lamia pay the price. What would Harambe say if he were alive today?

Thursday. Handful of Skittles.

Peace.

 

Epilogue: I was right and all the people involved should be punched in the face 100 times for being stupid. Read the story below.

http://www.news-leader.com/story/news/2017/06/05/rabies-results-come-back-baby-bobcat-euthanized-health-department/371204001/

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