Summeridge_iStock_000012852784_LargeIn modern society, more and more of us are questioning traditional care modalities, such as vaccinations. Are they really needed? Are the risks greater than the benefits? Is the disease in question even a real threat?

While we want all of our pet parents to be educated about the vaccines that we recommend for their pets, we also want them to understand that we do not take pet vaccination lightly. Immunizations, especially the rabies vaccination, are more important than ever for our household pets.

Rabies As a Disease

Rabies is one of those scary diseases that is considered “zoonotic”. This means that the disease is transmissible between humans and animals. It is caused by a virus that can infect any mammal. It is most commonly transmitted through saliva in the form of a bite.

Once the rabies virus begins to manifest symptoms in its host, it is nearly always fatal, making it very serious business.

Once the rabies virus enters the body, it attaches to muscle cells in the area. After a few days, it then travels up the nerves in the general vicinity, working its way up to the brain. This process typically occurs over a month or so, but in some cases can take up to a year.

Once the virus enters the brain, some characteristic symptoms will develop. These include:

  • Personality change
  • Voice change in some species
  • Irritation/itching at the original site of infection
  • Hallucinations
  • Aggression
  • Eventual weakness
  • Inability to swallow
  • Failure of the muscles involved in breathing
  • Eventual death

Fortunately, in modern society there are very few human cases of rabies. However, this fatal virus is still present in our country and is nothing to take lightly.

Rabies Vaccination is Protection

With a disease as serious as rabies, it is important to protect our families (two legs and four) as best we can. There are a few things that you can do to minimize the risk to you and your pets.

  • Be sure to avoid animals that are acting abnormally
  • Do not touch wild animals that are ill
  • Take the initiative to report animals that are sick or behaving strangely
  • Be sure to keep your pets on a leash to avoid unwanted encounters with wildlife

Perhaps the most important thing that you can do to protect yourself and your pets is to keep up to date with their rabies vaccination. The rabies vaccine is extremely effective when given routinely and is an important tool in limiting the devastating effects of the rabies virus.

Rabies vaccinations are recommended for almost every pet in their preventative care, and we take the protection of your family very seriously. As always, if you have any questions about rabies or vaccinating your pet, please let us know.