Rabies is a fatal disease caused by a virus that is transmitted via the saliva of a rabid animal to other animals or humans. A small bite or scratch is enough to create an open wound where the virus can get in. Though deadly and scary, the disease is thankfully preventable with vaccinations.
What is Rabies?
Rabies is transmitted to animals and humans through the saliva of an infected unvaccinated or wild animal. The most common threats in our area are bats, foxes, raccoons, and skunks. The rabies virus affects the central nervous system and is 100% fatal to dogs and cats. If your pet is bit by a rabid animal, the disease will progress in stages. Initially their temperament changes, followed by aggression, excessive drooling, muscle spasms, and seizures until finally culminating in a coma.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any tests available to determine whether or not your pet has rabies. If you suspect your pet may have the disease, they should be placed in quarantine for 10 days where their behavior and symptoms can be observed. While there isn’t a treatment for rabies, you may be able to receive an anti-rabies serum.
Vaccinations as Prevention
Sierra Veterinary Hospital doesn’t want to see any of our patients or their families suffer through the pain of rabies. Fortunately, there is a vaccine available to help prevent this deadly disease. We encourage you to start your new pet on their rabies vaccine program between 3 and 6 months of age. Boosters are required annually or every three years depending on the vaccine used. Rabies prevention is not only extremely important for pets and their owners, it is also required by law.
Rabies is a fatal disease that can harm both animals and humans. Not only is the rabies vaccine a legal requirement, it is essential in controlling the spread of the disease and paramount in keeping your family and furry friends protected. Whether you have 3 lb. Yorkie, a 100 lb. Lab, or a 10 year old house cat, the rabies vaccination is necessary for all pets. We encourage you to ask our doctors at Sierra Veterinary Hospital any questions you may have about rabies or the rabies vaccine.