The word “rabies” can conjure up some pretty frightening images in the mind’s eye. Rabies is extremely dangerous, and is the only disease in the world that has almost a 100% fatality rate once symptoms appear. And because rabies is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can be transmitted from animals to humans, it’s particularly dangerous. Fortunately, rabies has been all but eliminated in the United States and many other parts of the world, thanks to modern vaccination and wild animal control measures. However, you’ll still need to take the proper precautions to make sure your pet stays safe. Here’s how:
Rabies is spread through bites from an infected animal. So, it’s important to keep a close eye on your pet when they are outdoors, and stop them from encountering any wild animals, like raccoons or opossums. Keep your canine companion on a leash when you go on walks, and don’t let them stray too far. Don’t let your pet outside unsupervised, especially if you live in a wooded area or anywhere wild animals may pass through.
Your pet’s core vaccination group should include the rabies vaccine. That vaccination is your furry friend’s first–and possibly only–line of defense against the rabies virus. Puppies and kittens as young as three months old or so can receive the rabies vaccination, and they’ll probably need a few follow-up booster shots before receiving additional rabies vaccines every three years or so.
If your pet is in need of the rabies vaccination, or if you’re unsure whether or not your animal companion has already received this vaccine, call your vet.
You might be surprised to learn that having your pet spayed or neutered is a good way to prevent the risk of the rabies virus. That’s because spaying and neutering greatly reduce your pet’s urge to wander off in search of a mate. Not only will you be able to avoid the hassle and heartache of a lost pet, you won’t have to worry about them coming in contact with a wild animal that could potentially be rabid.
The symptoms of rabies include lethargy, loss of appetite, light and touch sensitivity, fever, and uncharacteristic aggressive behavior. Seizures and paralysis can occur if the disease progresses. Tell your veterinary professional immediately if you see these signs.
All things considered, the risk of rabies is very low for your pet. But make sure to take the right steps to keep it that way. Call your vet’s office for help!