Why Rabies Vaccinations Are So Important
Most people with pets have heard of rabies. Most have even heard a few anecdotal stories about the disease. Most, thankfully, haven't had personal experience with rabies or seen firsthand how it affects pets and their owners. This informational piece examines rabies and the importance of rabies vaccinations. It's not a pleasant topic, but it's much-needed information if you're a pet owner.
What Is Rabies?
Rabies is a disease caused by a virus transmitted through the saliva of a rabid animal. A bite or scratch is enough to create an open wound where the virus gets in. Rabies also transmits from animals to humans. No one wants their dog to get sick with anything, especially if it's preventable with vaccinations.
How Rabies Affects Your Dog
It's important to know the signs of rabies in pets and even more so if you've not given your pet the rabies vaccine. If a rabid animal bites your dog, the disease will progress in stages. At first, you may notice your dog's temperament changes. As the disease continues to progress, your pet may become aggressive and display other strange behaviors. Rabies is almost always fatal in dogs and cats.
Can Cats Have Rabies?
Like dogs, cats can also contract rabies and transmit the disease to humans. Rabies symptoms in cats vary by the stage of the disease. Initially, you may notice a change in demeanor. Symptoms of the next stage include aggression, muscle spasms, drooling, and seizures. In the final stage, a cat may go into a coma. When cats die from the disease, it's usually due to respiratory failure.
No Tests Available for Rabies
Unfortunately, there aren't any tests available to determine if an animal has rabies, at least not for live animals. If your pet is diagnosed with rabies, it's done after they've already succumbed to the disease. Instead, if there's a concern your pet may have rabies, they will be placed in quarantine for 10 days. During that time, they're observed for any symptoms of the disease. Also, while there isn't a treatment for rabies, your vet may opt to give an anti-rabies serum. Speak with your vet when you bring your pet in for their next set of pet vaccinations regarding rabies protocol.
The Best Treatment Is Prevention
Until you've seen an animal suffer from this unnecessary disease, it's hard to imagine. At Forever Vets Animal Hospital, we don't want to see any of our patients or their families go through such pain. The good news about rabies is the disease is preventable. We encourage you to start your puppy or kitten on their rabies vaccine program between 3 and 6 months of age. We give a booster at 1 year and then vaccinate every 3 years. If the cost is a concern, many vets offer low-cost pet vaccinations.
Please don't let rabies take the life of your beloved pet. For more information on rabies, or to schedule your pet vaccinations in Orlando, FL, or contact us today. We also have 8 other convenient locations with extended hour. Serving Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Orlando, Nocatee, St. Johns, St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and more.