Group of Fruit BatsThere is a dearth of jokes about rabies, yet, the disease is no laughing matter. In fact, it’s scary, painful, and once contracted, impossible to treat.

While most pet owners know that rabies is something to avoid, the possibility that it could actually happen to their pets seems remote (thanks, in part, to steady eradication efforts). Because your pet’s life matters, The Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center want to share not only the ways to protect your pet from rabies disease, but also why it’s so critical to do so.

Consider This…

There is no way to test for rabies disease in a live animal, highlighting the importance of closely following your pet’s vaccination schedule. A viral disease spread through the saliva of an infected animal, rabies affects the central nervous system before proving fatal. Potentially passed between all warm-blooded animals, rabies can be spread to you or your family via a wild animal bite, or even from your pet, if unvaccinated.

No Cure

If that doesn’t sound frightening enough, remember that there is no cure for rabies. The incubation period between infection and onset of symptoms varies from 3-8 weeks, but can be as long as years. This means that an unvaccinated pet could have rabies for awhile before symptoms manifest, although it cannot be transmitted until those signs appear.

What are the Signs of Rabies Disease?

Rabies disease is characterized by the following clinical signs:

  • Behavioral changes, such as increased anxiety, aggression, or uncharacteristic friendliness
  • Increased vocalization
  • Hypersensitivity to light and sound
  • Seizures
  • Viciousness
  • Paralysis of the head and throat, leading to excessive, unswallowed saliva
  • Respiratory failure
  • Death

How You Can Protect Your Pet from Rabies Disease

Not only do The Pet Experts recommend the rabies vaccination, but state laws mandate that dogs and cats be vaccinated at 4 months of age, and then again 12 months later (unless inoculation would compromise the pet’s health). A 3-year booster is administered throughout a pet’s life. It’s also a good idea to have a copy of your pet’s vaccination records handy, or know how to access your pet’s records.

Approximately 500 domestic pets are victims of rabies every year in the U.S., with the most common carriers being skunks, raccoons, foxes, and bats. The best ways to protect your pet from rabies disease include:

  • Vaccinate your pet
  • Keep your pet on a leash when out for walks
  • Do not allow your pet to stay out at night
  • Animal-proof your trash bins
  • Prevent wild animals from seeking shelter in your attic or crawlspace (cut branches near the roof, make sure screens, ducts, chimneys, and vents are secure, etc.)
  • Seek medical attention right away if your know or suspect your pet was bitten by a wild animal, as a rabies booster may be required or recommended
  • Do not touch or handle wild animals
  • Contact animal control if your ever see a nocturnal species outside in the middle of the day

Prevention is Key

It can be tough navigating a situation in which a pet is exposed to rabies. That’s why you can rely on Springbrook Animal Care Center to help protect your pet from this deadly disease. By maintaining vaccinations, your pet remains safe and will never be forced to undergo the lengthy quarantine process following an attack from an infected animal.

Questions? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to The Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center.