September 28th is World Rabies Day, so we’d like to take a minute to raise awareness about what rabies is and how it can be prevented.
Rabies is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can be transmitted to humans by animals. It affects the nervous system and causes anxiety, aggression, hypersensitivity, seizures, paralysis of the nerves, and respiratory failure.
As of right now, there is no cure for rabies and infected animals generally die within five days of showing symptoms. Although the typical incubation period for rabies is three to eight weeks, animals with rabies can only transmit the disease following the onset of clinical signs.
According to American Humane, this is what you need to know about rabies:
• Rabies is spread via contact with saliva – though it’s typically due to bite wounds, rabies can be transmitted through existing scratches or open wounds
• Rabies can affect any warm-blooded animal but common carriers include skunks, bats, raccoons, and foxes
• The only state unaffected by rabies is Hawaii; however, the disease is most prevalent along the East Coast
• There is no way to test a live animal for rabies – the only way to find out if an animal is infected with rabies is to examine its brain tissue once its euthanized or dies
• On average, in the United States, rabies only affects two humans each year; unfortunately, it is transmitted to approximately 400 – 500 domestic pets each year
Follow these tips to make sure you and your pet remain protected from rabies:
• Avoid touching wild animals and any other animal displaying unnatural behavior, such as being unnaturally friendly or overly aggressive
• Don’t keep wildlife as pets – many exotic animals cannot be vaccinated for rabies
• Feed your pet indoors to avoid attracting wildlife to your home
• Keep your pet up to date on all their vaccinations
• Be aware of your state’s rabies laws
Once transmitted, rabies is almost always fatal but it is preventable. Be sure to take any steps necessary to keep you and your pet safe from the disease. If you’d like to schedule an appointment with us to have your pet vaccinated, please get in touch at (609) 965-6008.