World Rabies Day | How to protect your pet from Rabies
Rabies is a frightful viral disease that is transferred through a bite or scratch by way of the saliva or blood of an infected animal passing into your pet’s bloodstream.
It can also be contracted through saliva coming into contact with your pet’s eyes, mouth, or nose. Once the symptoms of the disease are fully developed, rabies can be fatal. Unfortunately, there is no cure for rabies, it can only be prevented. In this article, we’ll share tips on how to protect your pet from rabies, but first, let’s establish a few things.
Where is the rabies virus found?
- the brain
- the nervous tissue
Unbeknown to some, faeces and urine cannot transmit rabies. Most infections will occur directly through animal bites. If your animal is exposed to this virus in any form, whether from a bite, scratch, mouth, eyes or nose, veterinary assistance should be immediately consulted – a point we’ll elaborate on a little later.
Here are our top 4 tips:
Keep your pet’s rabies vaccinations up-to-date
This is the most effective way of preventing your pet from contracting rabies. Make a concerted effort to keep their rabies vaccinations up-to-date. Rabies vaccinations are usually valid for 1- 3 years, but we recommend you get your vet to confirm this.
What the vaccine does is ensure that your pet is always protected should they be exposed to another animal with rabies. Though this is most certainly the case, rather be extra cautious and take your pet to the vet if you suspect they have come in to contact with a rabid animal. Usually, a vet will give your pet a booster vaccine and monitor them for any signs of infection.
Stay away from injured or dead animals
It’s not uncommon for people to pull over if ever they come across an injured animal on the road. Although this may seem quite harsh, we recommend keeping your distance from an injured animal. This goes for your pets too. Instead, call for assistance. There are professionals that will arrive equipped to deal with such situations.
The same goes for dead animals. When hiking or walking through the countryside, keep yourselves, your children and your pets away from any dead or injured animals, especially if they are wild. This leads to our next tip.
Watch over your pet when outdoors
Pets love to chase other animals, be it birds, mice, squirrels or any other wild animals. This is where you need to be careful as any mammal can contract rabies. As many will know, the best way to gauge whether an animal has rabies is by its behaviour. Rabid animals may appear to be unusually aggressive, agitated, and are often found in anomalous locations.
Another sign to look out for when taking your pets out into nature is if you come across an animal that seems slow or slightly injured. This could be a sign of progressive paralysis which is a primary symptom of rabies. This is why we cannot stress our previous prevention tip enough – maintain your distance.
Consult a veterinarian
Above all, if you even slightly suspect any exposure to rabies, we strongly recommend you consult a vet immediately. Even if your pet is bitten or scratched by another pet that you know, or a pet that yours has been previously acquainted with, the owner of that pet may not be up-to-date with their pet’s rabies vaccinations.
Who knows what their pet has been exposed to? You can never be too cautious. Don’t be afraid to talk about it. If you are planning a pet date with a friend or family member, ask the question; is your pet up-to-date with their rabies vaccinations? It’s better to be safe than sorry.
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