The Rundown on Rabies

doctorholdingrabiessignThese days, it seems like rabies is some distant disease that we haven’t really thought of since the days of Cujo (though that is, unfortunately, forever burned in our brains.) But the truth of the matter is, there’s a reason we still vaccinate our pets for it and that’s because it’s still a very real (and, for your dog, very deadly) virus that’s transmitted through saliva. Here’s a quick need-to-know on rabies:

  • Rabies can affect all mammals; if your pet gets into a scuffle with a wild animal, immediately look them over for any wounds and wash them with soap and water; from there, a 10-day veterinary examination may be necessary.
  • The good news is the rabies virus is incredibly fragile, as soon as the saliva dries, it’s no longer active or contagious; as long as it didn’t get into your pet’s bloodstream (ie: there’s saliva on their fur but no bite or wound), they should be fine.
  • Symptoms of rabies in dogs include a change in behavior, usually in the way of aggression and/or withdrawal.
  • The best news is that this is all completely avoidable as long as you keep up on your pet’s vaccinations. If your pet’s been vaccinated and gets bitten by a rabid animal, they’ll need an immediate booster shot and you’ll need to keep an eye on them for 45 days to ensure they don’t exhibit any drastic behavioral changes.
  • Lastly, on top of routine boosters, it’s best to leash your pet up in areas where they may run into wild animals.
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