No one wants to think of their beloved pet being the victim of rabies. It’s a harsh fact of our world, though, and remains an ever-present threat, even in urban area. Your pet doesn’t have to be attacked out in the woods to contract rabies, and it can dangerous (and deadly) not just for them, but for your whole family. Since today happens to be World Rabies Day, we figured it’d be appropriate to take a closer look at this disease, see what can be done to prevent, and how to deal with a possible infection.
Rabies is a disease that’s transmitted saliva or tissues from a mammal’s nervous system. When these get into another mammal, such as through a bite, rabies can be contracted by the victim. Symptoms of rabies start small, like fevers or general weakness. However, it can escalate in both animals and humans to include insomnia, hallucination, paralysis, and death.
It’s scary to look at, and yes, tens of thousands of people (and even more animals) die from rabies each year. However, it is entirely possible to prevent that from happening if you take the proper steps.
Foremost, getting yourself, your family, and your pets vaccinated against rabies is an excellent way to ensure the disease never get a foothold, even if a bite does occur. Second, if you’ve been bitten or scratched or fear that you’ve somehow been exposed to rabies, get to your doctor. They can start a 14-day treatment that can prevent an actual infection from setting in and spreading through the nervous system.
Recognize that not just dogs can be culprits in spreading rabies. Other animals include everything from bats to ferrets to cows to foxes to rabbits, and even horses. In fact, while dogs are the most common rabies vectors in the world, bats are the most common in the Americas. If you encounter an animal that is behaving erratically, stay away and report it to your local animal control immediately. You shouldn’t approach wild animals in the first place, but domestic animals are just as susceptible. Look for symptoms such as foaming at the mouth, a stiff gait, seizures, and other strange actions.
The two main keys are preparedness and prevention. Keep your kids aware of the danger so they don’t try to interact with “cute wildlife” and know how to get medical attention as soon as possible if you even suspect a rabies exposure.
It may not be a fun topic, but we want you–and your pets–to stay safe and sound so you can enjoy each other’s love for years to come!
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