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What World Rabies Day Means To Your Pet

When rabies pops in your head you are probably thinking of a ferocious dog foaming at the mouth. While the drool, the frothing mouth, and the angry disposition are an accurate representation of a typical case of rabies, there is more to rabies that you should definitely know.

Rabies is something you DON’T want your pet to end up with. It can affect all mammals.  Always fatal, rabies is a viral infection that affects your pet’s brain and central nervous system (CNS). Primarily spread through the bite of infected animals such as foxes, raccoons, bats, and skunks, rabies is a zoonotic infection that can affect all mammals, meaning it can be transmitted to humans.

Risks/Symptoms

Rabies is known to cause several symptoms, but there are some early signs. Early stages may merely cause mild abnormalities with the central nervous system, such as weakness and loss of coordination. This can last up to three days before progressing rather rapidly to the severe symptoms many are familiar with, ranging from paralysis to extreme behavior swings.

Here’s a list of signs and symptoms to watch for:

  • Lack of coordination
  • Excessive salivation
  • Fever
  • Paralysis
  • Change in bark tone
  • Change in behavior/irritable/unusually shy or aggressive
  • Excessive salivation
  • Inability to swallow
  • Diagnosis/Treatment
  • Seizures

If you think your pet may have been bitten or scratched by a potentially rabid animal, it’s crucial to contact your veterinarian immediately! Your pet must be quarantined to prevent the spread of the disease, and the amount of quarantine time depends on several factors, including state and local regulations, whether or not your pet was vaccinated against rabies, and/or whether or not the animal your pet encountered is a confirmed rabies case.

Since there are other diseases that can cause behavior changes similar to those caused by rabies, your veterinarian may want to run tests to rule out other issues.  Furthermore, we recommend calling us for more information on protecting your pet from rabies.

SOURCE: Pet Health Network
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