The word “rabies” conjures up some frightening images in the mind’s eye. Rabies is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can be transmitted from animals to humans. It also has almost a 100 percent fatality rate, once symptoms develop. This makes it extremely dangerous, to both people and pets. Luckily, rabies has been all but eliminated in the United States and many other parts of the world, because of vaccinations and wild animal control measures. Still, you’ll want to take the necessary precautions to make sure your pet stays safe. Here’s how:
Your furry pal’s core vaccination group should include the rabies vaccine. This is going to be his main line of defense against the rabies virus. Puppies and kittens as young as three months old can receive the rabies vaccination. Fluffy and Fido will also require follow-up booster shots before receiving additional rabies vaccines every three years or so.
If your pet is in need of the rabies vaccination, or if you’re unsure whether or not your pet has already received this vaccine, call your vet’s office to schedule an appointment.
The rabies virus spreads through the bites of infected animals. So, it’s very important that you keep a close eye on your pet outdoors in order to stop them from encountering wild animals, like raccoons or opossums. Keep your canine friend leashed when you go on walks, and don’t let him stray too far. If you live in a wooded area or anywhere that wild animals may pass through, don’t leave your pet outside unsupervised.
You might be surprised to learn that having your pet spayed or neutered is a good way to prevent the risk of the rabies virus. This is because spaying and neutering will reduce your pet’s urge to wander in order to find a mate. Not only will you avoid the heartache of a lost pet, you don’t have to worry about them coming in contact with any potentially-rabid wild animals.
Keep an eye out for symptoms of rabies. These include lethargy, loss of appetite, light and touch sensitivity, fever, and uncharacteristic aggression. Seizures and paralysis can occur if the disease progresses. Tell your veterinary professional immediately if you see these signs.
Fortunately, the risk of contracting rabies is very low for you and your pet. However, it’s up to you to keep it that way. Call your vet’s office for more information.