Rabies! What Pet Owners Need to Know

As a pet owner you’re probably familiar with the dangers of rabies, which can also be contracted by humans. Rabies is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal via bite, scratch or through open wounds on the skin. Symptoms are varied and can include:

– Changes in behavior from the classic furious aggressive form to loss of fear
– Depression and/or partial paralysis
– Drooling and/or abnormal swallowing

Prevention is the key in protecting your pets from contracting rabies



While it can occur in most mammalian wild life, the main reservoirs of this disease seem to be bats, foxes, skunks and raccoons. Since there is no known cure for rabies in animals, and because of the potential spread to humans, rabies prevention is the key with this disease.

All pets and domestic live stock for which a licensed vaccination exists should be vaccinated. This includes not only dogs and cats, but ferrets, horses, sheep, cattle. In most states the initial booster is good for one year, after which vaccination is usually required every three years in most states.

It is also best to not approach or handle unfamiliar or wild animals, including educating everyone in the family and especially small children about this. Any wound caused by an animal should be washed and cleaned with soap and water and medical attention should be immediately sought.

To prevent unwanted wildlife encounters, all pets should be neutered and/or spayed to prevent wandering and territorial behavior that could increase contact with potentially infected wildlife. All outdoor pets should be kept in well gaited areas.

If any wildlife is seen wandering out in the open during the daylight hours, local animal control should be contacted immediately. It is important for animal guardians to know that healthy pets do not carry rabies in their mouths, and if there is no known history of a recent bite or potential exposure to wildlife, than rabies transmission is highly unlikely from pet bites. However, each state will vary in its laws about handling currently vaccinated animals that bite people, in terms of quarantine, and/or reinocculation requirements.

Source:  Pet Meds Blog

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