September 28 is World Rabies Day, a disease that, although increasingly less common today, we must still remind animal owners of their necessary vaccination to eradicate it.
Most of you will have heard of rabies more than once. Many of you have even heard some anecdotal stories about this disease. Fortunately, most of you will not have had a personal experience with rabies or seen first-hand how it affects pets and even their owners. In this blog post we will talk about rabies and the importance of rabies vaccines. It is not a pleasant subject, but it is very necessary information that you should consider if you have a pet. Take note!
What is rabies?
Rabies is basically a disease caused by a virus that is transmitted through the saliva of a rabid animal. A bite or scratch is enough to create an open wound where the virus enters. Also, you should be aware that rabies is transmitted from animals to humans. Nobody wants their dog to get sick from any disease, right? Especially if it can be prevented with vaccines.
How can rabies affect your dog?
Rabies can affect all kinds of mammalian animals, but it is the domestic ones that should be avoided. Therefore, it is important to know the signs of rabies in pets and even more so if you have not given your pet the rabies vaccine. If a rabid animal bites your dog, the disease will progress in stages. At first, you may notice changes in your dog’s own temperament. As the disease continues to progress, your pet may become aggressive and display other strange behaviors. Rabies is almost always fatal in dogs and cats.
Can Cats Get Rabies?
Like dogs, cats can also contract rabies and transmit the disease to humans. Symptoms of rabies in cats vary depending on the stage of the disease. Initially, you may notice some changes in behavior. Symptoms of the next stage include aggression, muscle spasms, drooling, and even seizures. In the final stage, the cat may go into a coma. When cats die from the disease, it is usually due to respiratory failure.
No tests are available for rabies
Unfortunately, there are no direct tests available to clearly determine if an animal has rabies, at least not for live animals. If your pet is diagnosed with rabies, it is done after he has already succumbed to the disease. On the other hand, if there is a measure that if your pet may have rabies, it will be quarantined for 10 days. During that time, any symptoms of the disease are observed. Diagnosis is made by observation and direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) staining tests, which look for rabies viral antigens in brain tissue. Also, although there is no treatment for rabies, your vet may choose to give you an anti-rabies serum. Talk to your trusted veterinarian when you bring your pet for his next vaccinations and find out how to deal with suspected rabies.
The best treatment for rabies is prevention
Until you’ve seen an animal suffer from this unnecessary disease, it’s hard to imagine how terrible it is. At Glòries Veterinary Hospital, we do not want any of our patients or their pets to go through that pain. The good news about rabies is that the disease is preventable. We recommend that you start your puppy or kitten on their rabies vaccination program between 3 and 6 months of age. And from that moment, offer a souvenir dose a year and then every 3 years.
Rabies is very dangerous for both animals and humans. Therefore, not only is vaccination against rabies necessary, but it is essential to control the spread of this disease and essential to keep your family protected. Whether you have a 10-pound Yorkshire always on your lap or a 15-year-old house cat that has retired to birdwatch from the window, a rabies shot is necessary for all pets.