Did you know that rabies has been on the rise again in many places? Just the word “rabies” can conjure up some frightening images in the mind’s eye. Even worse, rabies is a zoonotic disease. This means it can be transmitted from animals to humans, a feature that makes it particularly dangerous. Rabies was all but eliminated in the United States and many other parts of the world, thanks to modern vaccinations and wild animal control measures. However, it does resurface from time to time. You’ll need to take the proper precautions to make sure your pet stays safe. Here’s how:
Your pet’s core vaccination group will typically include the rabies vaccine. This is your pet’s first line of defense against the rabies virus. Puppies and kittens can receive the rabies vaccination as part of their initial vaccines. However, your pet will need follow-up booster shots. Ask your vet for more information.
If your pet is in need of the rabies vaccination, or if you’re not sure if your four-legged buddy has already received this vaccine or not, call your vet’s office for help.
The rabies virus is spread through the bite of another infected animal. So, it’s important to keep a close eye on your pet outdoors in order to stop them from encountering any wild animals, like raccoons or opossums. Keep your pet on a leash when you go on walks, and don’t let them stray too far. If you live in a wooded area or anywhere that wild animals may pass through, don’t let your pet outside unsupervised.
You may 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 reduces your pet’s urge to wander in order to find a mate. Not only will you avoid the hassle and heartache of a lost pet, you don’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. More serious symptoms, such as seizures and paralysis, can occur if the disease progresses. Tell your veterinary professional immediately if you see these signs. If you know or suspect that your pet has come into contact with a rabid animal, you’ll also want to consult your own doctor.
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!