The rabies virus represents a serious risk to people and their pets – with hundreds of cases in pets each year in the United States alone. All it takes to contract this deadly disease is exposure to an infected animal through a scratch, cut or bite.
Fortunately, there’s something you can do. A simple vaccination is the best way to help protect your pet against rabies. Even if you keep your pet indoors, it should still be vaccinated — and it’s require by law!
What is rabies?
Rabies is an acute viral infection that can affect all warm-blooded animals – including dogs and cats. The disease is almost always caused by the bite of an infected animal that has rabies virus in its saliva. Younger animals are usually more susceptible to rabies infection. And it’s always fatal once clinic signs appears.
What if my pet has possible been exposed?
If your pet has been bitten by or exposed to a wild or potentially rabid animal, speak with us immediately and report it to local animal control authorities. Even if your pet has a current vaccine, you should still contact us.
Signs and Prevention
Once the rabies virus enters the body, it travels along the nerves to the brain. It can take a matter of days, weeks or months for your pet to show signs of the rabies virus.
Infected animals often show anxiety, aggression, restlessness and erratic behavior. They also may develop weakness, poor coordination or tremors. Wild rabid animals commonly lose their fear of humans. Species that are normally nocturnal may be seen wandering about during the day.
Dogs, cats or ferrets that have never been vaccinated and are exposed to a rabid animal may need to be euthanized or placed in strict isolation for six months.
Vaccinate to Protect Your Pet
We are committed to helping you make the best choices for your pet’s health. To give your pet the protection it needs, we recommend vaccination with the IMRAB rabies vaccine.
What Else Can You Do?
- Don’t leave garbage or pet food outdoors.
- Observe all wild or stray animals.
- If you see a wild animal acting strangely, report it to your local animal control authorities.
(Information courtesy of Merial)