Rabies is a deadly disease in both animals and humans, though far more dogs, cats, and other pets succumb to it annually than people. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), rabies claims 50,000 human lives and millions of animal lives across the world every year. The main way that animals contract the disease, which primarily affects the brain and spinal cord, is being bitten by another animal. Bats, foxes, raccoons, and skunks are the biggest carriers of rabies. Unvaccinated dogs and cats that are not supervised outdoors have the highest risk of coming into contact with another animal with this disease. They can then spread it to their human owners through saliva or by accidentally scratching them.
Symptoms of Rabies in House Pets:
It may be up to eight weeks before your dog or cat shows symptoms of rabies since it has a long incubation period. The one exception to this is when rabies is spread through saliva and symptoms appear approximately 10 days later. A marked change in behavior is one of the first things that most pet owners notice. A normally mild-tempered dog becomes aggressive or a cat who loved to be next to people suddenly spends most of his or her time in hiding. Later symptoms of rabies include:
- Hypersensitivity to light, sound, and touch
- Disorientation, staggering, and lack of coordination
- Paralysis of the hind legs
- Loss of appetite
- Foaming at the mouth resulting from paralysis of the jaw and throat muscles
Death can occur suddenly or after several months of symptoms, but rabies is always fatal.
Protect Your Pet with a Rabies Vaccination
Keeping up-to-date with rabies vaccinations is not only the moral thing to do, it’s also the law. If your dog or cat is at least three months old, contact us at Buffalo Trace Veterinary Clinic to get him or her on a vaccination schedule. For your convenience, we are offering rabies vaccination clinics at the following times:
- Saturday, April 11 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
- Thursday, April 16 from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- Saturday, April 18 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
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