Rabies may seem like a rare disease, and thanks to vaccinations it certainly occurs far less frequently in the pet population than it did years ago, but it’s a very serious disease that dog owners should be aware of. Here’s what you need to know about rabies to keep your pet safe.
Rabies is a viral disease that’s spread through the saliva of an infected animal bite. Dogs aren’t the only carriers of the disease, though they are among the most common. Skunks, bats, foxes, and coyotes are also common rabies carriers.
If left untreated, rabies is 100 percent fatal in dogs and almost always fatal in humans.
The symptoms of rabies can be easy to miss at first because they can look like symptoms of the flu:
- Partial paralysis
It can take as little as a few days or as long as twelve weeks for symptoms to appear.
In dogs, there is no treatment or cure for the disease. Rabid dogs are almost always euthanized to prevent them from suffering a painful death or biting another dog or human and spreading the disease.
In humans with rabies, the treatment involves giving the bitten person rabies immune globulin and a series of injections of rabies vaccines to help the body fight the infection.
There is no test for rabies. If your pet is suspected of having contracted the disease, the vet will likely euthanize it.
Rabies vaccines are widely available and required in most places. Many businesses will not let an unvaccinated dog on their premises because of the health risk to humans and other dogs.
Just as there has been an increase in once-rare diseases among humans (due to parents choosing to refrain from vaccinating their children), there has been an increase in dog illnesses because pet owners have not given vaccinations to their dogs.
Part of providing good pet care for your dog is making sure that he stays healthy by having him vaccinated against diseases such as rabies. A little prevention now could not only keep your dog healthy, it could also save his life.
If you’d like more information on pet care and dog training contact Bark Busters today.