Animal Rabies

World Rabies Day

Annually for the past 10 years the world has been celebrating World Rabies Day. A day that came into being to promote rabies awareness and help educate the masses on this disease that has been killing more than 55,000 people every year around the world. Right here in our own united states one to two people die annually. In 2014 right here in the United States there were over 6,000 reported cases of animal rabies. This disease has been reported in every state except Hawaii, and has also everywhere around the world with the exception of Australia and Antarctica. Sadly, once symptoms appear, the disease results in fatality.

Rabies is a viral disease that affects the brains of humans and other mammals. It does so by causing acute inflammation of the brain. This virus reproduces heavily in the saliva glands of the infected animal so it’s usually transmitted via a flesh breaking bite from the infected animal. It can be transmitted through a scratch if the wound has contact with the infected saliva, the same can be said of the infected saliva hitting a mucous membrane. In the United States the most common rabies carriers are: Bats, Raccoons, Skunks, and foxes. When it comes to domestic species far more cats see it than others such as dogs and ferrets.

When it comes to your furry best friend, they may show significant behavioral changes when infected. They may become apprehensive or restless, and start showing signs of aggression. Your once friendly dog may become highly irritable, or a normally high energy/highly excitable pet may become more docile than usual. With the slightest stimulus your pet may bite or snap at you, or even inanimate objects. You may start to see them bite/chew at the site where they were bitten or even start to constantly lick it. Your pet may even have a fever at this time.

As the disease progresses your pet may become hypersensitive to light, sound, and touch. They could start hiding in dark places and eating weird things. The most known symptom is the foaming at the mouth. What’s not known is that foaming is caused by paralysis of the throat/jaw muscles. Paralysis of the hind legs may develop causing staggering and incoordination of your pet. Lastly, some other known signs are loss of appetite, weakness, seizures, and sudden death.

Not so Fun Fact: The virus usually incubates from 2-8 weeks before signs are noticed, but transmission of said virus through saliva can happen as early as 10 days before symptoms appear.

Not So Fun Fact: Unvaccinated dogs and cats who are allowed to roam outside are at the most risk for infection. Your pets that are exposed to wildlife have a higher chance for infection as well. Not to mention if they encounter a stray dog or cat with the virus.

Not So Fun Fact: There isn’t an accurate test to diagnose rabies in a live animal. The most accurate diagnostic that can be ran is a direct fluorescent antibody test. The test requires brain tissue though and the test can only be performed after death of the animal.

Not so Fun Fact: THERE IS NO TREATMENT OR CURE FOR RABIES ONCE SYMPTOMS APPEAR. It’s a disease that is a serious threat to the world at large so pets that are suspected of the disease are more often than not euthanized.

The best thing you can ever do is get your Pet vaccinated once a year, or once every three years if you use the three year version of the vaccine. Make sure to schedule your appointment with The Pet Doctor if you haven’t had your pet vaccinated this year, or if their due date for vaccines is near. In this case, Prevention is the best medicine! Vaccinate, Vaccinate, Vaccinate!!! Call us today to capitalize on our Annual vaccine specials for Dogs and cats. Celebrate World Rabies Day by going out and educating your friends and family about the disease and having them vaccinate their pets annually.

You can find more information on Rabies, and World Rabies Day at the sites listed below:

See you soon, Bring your pets to the office and we’ll gladly look them over.