Each year, many animals are affected by the deadly disease Rabies. Rabies is most commonly transmitted to pets when bitten by infected wild animals. Once saliva from an infected animal enters the body, the virus begins to aggressively attack the central nervous system and the body’s organs.
Animals infected with the Rabies virus show various behavioral signs including aggression, drooling, paralysis, seizures, as well as difficulty swallowing. The virus incubates approximately two to eight weeks before signs are noticed and transmission of the virus to other hosts can occur as early as ten days before the onset of symptoms. Sadly, once an animal displays the symptoms of the virus, there is no treatment available as the virus will take the animal’s life.
One reason Rabies is a concerning disease is because there is no cure and it is easily transmittable to not only other animals, but humans. In fact, Rabies is a major concern worldwide as it kills approximately 55,000 humans every year. September 28, 2017 is dedicated as Rabies Awareness Day to help spread knowledge of the disease and encourage prevention in order to save the lives of animals and humans.
Rabies is preventable through vaccination, making it crucial to have your dogs, cats, and ferrets vaccinated and kept up to date. Having your pet vaccinated is so important because the virus is easily transmittable and there is no cure if the virus is contracted. The virus quickly enters the salivary gland allowing the virus to be spread through a bite wound or a scratch when infected saliva makes contact with mucous membranes or an open wound.
Having your pet vaccinated for rabies not only protects him or her, but also other animals or humans if your pet were to bite them. The risk of rabies runs highest if your pet is unvaccinated and exposed to wild animals such as foxes, skunks, raccoons, or bats. If you suspect your pet has been bitten by an infected animal, take them to the vet immediately. If your pet is up to date with its vaccinations he or she will be given a Rabies booster and be kept under observation for a few weeks. Keeping up to date with your pet’s health and required vaccinations goes a long way in prevention of deadly diseases like Rabies.