Rabies. Few words can make a pet owner shudder more. Rabies is a nasty viral disease that gets transmitted either through the saliva or nervous system tissues from one mammal to another. It is an incredibly deadly disease with a 99.9% fatality rate across the world! Once clinical symptoms actually appear, the death is inevitable. That’s pretty serious, to say the least, especially considering that rabies can easily be transmitted through small bites or scratches from infected animals.
Now, immediate post-exposure treatment can stop rabies before it progresses to the point of no return, and there are ways to take preventative action against rabies. If your pet is ever in the vicinity of skunks, raccoons, foxes, bats, coyotes, various rodents and other wild animals, they’re at risk of contracting rabies. That’s why World Rabies Day has been established to inform people of the danger rabies presents plus give them the resources needed to protect themselves and their pets against the ravages of such a disease.
What’s the best way to protect your pet against the threat of rabies?
Vaccination is the primary method, even if your pet spends most or all of its time indoors. Make sure your pet’s rabies shots are up-to-date at all times. If they’ve been bitten or scratched by another animal, be sure to take them in to the vet for a booster shot as well.
When out in the wilds, if you keep your pet under control on a leash, this can reduce the possibility of them running off and being exposed to another animal attack. Plus having your dog spayed or neutered is also a big help to reducing rabies–mainly because overpopulation leads to more stray dogs, which can easily become recipients and vectors of the disease.
How can you tell if an animal (or another pet) has rabies? The signs aren’t usually too visible, unfortunately. Affected animals may stagger or walk oddly, may be overly aggressive or overly friendly, and foam at the mouth. None of these are definitive symptoms either way, though. If you even simply suspect an animal of having rabies, be sure to keep your own pets and family members as far away from it as possible and contact local animal authorities to have them contain the animal.
In the end, awareness and prevention are the two greatest tools you have to fight the rabies threat. Visit the Global Alliance for Rabies Control for further info and find ways you can support their efforts to promote human and animal health!
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