Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)
Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2009

Feline Rabies: ABCD Guidelines on Prevention and Management

Frymus, Tadeusz; Addie, Diane; Belak, Sandor; Boucraut-Baralon, Corine; Egberink, Herman; Gruffydd-Jones, Tim; Hartmann, Katrin; Hosie, Margaret J.; Lloret, Albert; Lutz, Hans; Marsilio, Fulvio; Pennisi, Maria Grazia; Radford, Alan D.; Thiry, Etienne; Truyen, Uwe; Horzinek, Marian C.


Overview Rabies virus belongs to the genus Lyssavirus, together with European bat lyssaviruses 1 and 2. In clinical practice, rabies virus is easily inactivated by detergent-based disinfectants. Infection Rabid animals are the only source of infection. Virus is shed in the saliva some days before the onset of clinical signs and transmitted through a bite or a scratch to the skin or mucous membranes. The average incubation period in cats is 2 months, but may vary from 2 weeks to several months, or even years. Disease signs Any unexplained aggressive behaviour or sudden behavioural change in cats must be considered suspicious. Two disease manifestations have been identified in cats: the furious and the dumb form. Death occurs after a clinical course of 1–10 days. Diagnosis A definitive rabies diagnosis is obtained by post-mortem laboratory investigation. However, serological tests are used for post-vaccinal control, especially in the context of international movements. Disease management Post-exposure vaccination of cats depends on the national public health regulations, and is forbidden in many countries. Vaccination recommendations A single rabies vaccination induces a long-lasting immunity. Kittens should be vaccinated at 12–16 weeks of age to avoid interference from maternally derived antibodies and revaccinated 1 year later. Although some vaccines protect against virulent rabies virus challenge for 3 years or more, national or local legislation may call for annual boosters

Published in

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery
2009, Volume: 11, number: 7, pages: 585-593

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Animal and Dairy Science
    Veterinary Science

    Publication Identifiers


    Permanent link to this page (URI)