The Arizona Department of Health Services issued an update to Arizona Veterinarians informing them Plague has been identified in a cat in Jerome, AZ.
What is Plague?
Plague, caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis, is a zoonotic disease, effecting both humans and animals.
“The first known human case of plague in Arizona occurred in 1950. Since then, there has been an average of 1-2 human cases per year. Plague activity in nature has been known to wax and wane over time, and this is influenced largely by climate conditions and rodent and flea populations. During the years 2001-2006, plague activity was reduced in Arizona, and no human cases of plague were reported. In 2007, plague activity show signs of increasing.”
–Arizona Department of Health Services
Where is the plague found?
Plague is found in most Arizona areas about 4,500 feet in elevation. The intensity varies from season to season and place to place, and it is continually monitored by health officials.
How is the plague transmitted?
People and pets can get plague after being bitten by infected fleas.
Plague can also be transmitted by coming in direct contact with blood or tissues of infected rodents, rabbits or carnivores.
How do I protect my pets?
-Use a flea preventative year-round for your pets, such as an oral chew Bravecto or a topical application of Frontline.
-Make your home rodent proof
-Eliminate sources of food for rodents
-Eliminate nesting sources for rodents such as removing brush, rock piles, junk and cluttered firewood
*As always, if your pet is acting ill, have them seen by a veterinarian immediately.
How do I protect myself and my family?
-Use a flea preventative year-round for your pets
-Avoid petting unknown dogs or cats that may be carrying fleas
-Do not handle wild rodents or rabbits
-Stay away from rodent burrows
-Avoid contact with sick or dead animals
-Wear insect repellants to keep fleas away when hiking or working in areas where plague might be active
-Wear rubber gloves when cleaning game animals
Frontline is a topical product that is applied directly on the skin every month.
Bravecto is an oral product in the form of a flavored treat for your pet. Bravecto lasts for three months, unlike a monthly application of a topical product. Learn more about Bravecto.
Flea collars are not recommended as the medication is not absorbed around the whole body. Commonly, skin rashes may develop and create severe ulceration of skin. With a collar the medication primarily stays around the neck. With a topical or an oral preventative, the medication is absorbed around the whole body.
*If your pets are not currently on a flea prevention, schedule an appointment to get started today!