Rabies is a frightening and deadly disease that can cause immeasurable suffering. And, unfortunately, our pets can’t communicate when they are suffering to help us address the problem. However, by learning more about the disease and how it impacts pets, you can prevent your pet from being affected by this deadly disease.
Rabies is a disease resulting from the spread of a virus. This virus typically comes from wild animals, including foxes, skunks, coyotes, raccoons, and bats. The virus is spread through a bite from an infected animal or exposure to their saliva. It attacks the animal’s nervous system and is almost always fatal.
How Common Is Rabies?
Every year, there are approximately 400 to 500 cases of rabies in domestic pets. This includes both indoor and outdoor pets. Even if you keep your pet inside all the time, it only takes a rabid bat making its way into your home to infect the pet.
What Are the Symptoms of Rabies?
The following are the most common signs of rabies in a pet:
- Trouble swallowing, which often leads to the “foaming” around the mouth
- Excessive drooling
- Lack of coordination when walking
- Lack of appetite
You’ll also likely see behavioral changes. For example, your pet may be more affectionate than usual or may hide more than usual. These symptoms do not show up immediately after being infected and usually appear between three and twelve weeks after infection.
Is There a Cure for Rabies?
Unfortunately, there is no cure. While there have been a few cases of survival, those seem to be the exception to the rule. Most cases of rabies are fatal, especially once the symptoms appear. If you suspect your pet has come in contact with a rabid animal, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Protecting Your Pet from Rabies
Prevention is always the best medicine. In most states, the rabies vaccine is required by law. Even in states that do not require it, vaccinating your pet is the most effective method of prevention and should be done as soon as your veterinarian recommends it. Any household pet that is a mammal can become infected. Over the past several years, more cats have become infected than dogs. This is because pet owners are aware of the risk to their dogs but are usually not aware of the threat to cats. Therefore, they do not vaccinate their cats against the disease.
Contact Our Animal Hospital in Littleton for Rabies Prevention
Call Southwest Veterinary Hospital, PC today at (303) 794-2697 for more information on rabies or to schedule an appointment with our veterinarian.