Be Aware: It’s World Rabies Day

Rabies is somewhat of a “boogeyman” topic when it comes to animals. We talk about it thinking about movies like Ol’ Yeller or picture animals going berserk, frothing at the mouth, and attacking anything in sight. It’s nightmarish to think about–but how real of a threat does it pose to you and your pets?

The reality is, it can be a big one. It primarily affects dogs and humans. Millions of dogs succumb to the ravages of the disease every year, and millions more are killed by misguided people who think simply getting rid of the potentially infected animals will get rid of rabies (untrue). It is also reported that nearly 60,000 people die each year from rabies, primarily transmitted via dog bites. 60% of these deaths are children 15 years old or younger.

We don’t say that to scare you, but to help you be aware that rabies is a matter you should actively protect your pet against.

The first step is to educate yourself about this disease. From the Global Alliance for Rabies Control: Rabies is a viral disease that is transmitted through the saliva or tissues from the nervous system from an infected mammal to another mammal, usually through a bite.

Symptoms in humans can include:

  • Fevers & Headache
  • Nausea & Vomiting
  • Agitation, Anxiety, or Confusion
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fear of water (hydrophobia) because of the difficulty in swallowing
  • Hallucinations, Insomnia
  • Even partial paralysis

In pets, they include:

  • Paralysis of the throat and mouth area
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Disorientation and staggering
  • Paralysis of the hind legs
  • Weakness, seizures, and sudden death are also possible

In animals, the best protective measure is to ensure they have their vaccinations against it, and to keep those shots up to date. For humans, if you are bitten, go immediately to a doctor to confirm whether you’ve contracted the virus and get medical attention. The sooner the disease is treated, the less likely deadlier symptoms will develop. Never assume everything will be fine. If you are alert for the possibility of rabies, it becomes easier to keep you, your family, and your pets safe.

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