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Understanding the Dangers of Rabies

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There’s a reason why the rabies shot is a mandatory vaccine for pets. Rabies is a viral disease that can affect your dog or cat’s central nervous system and lead to death. Rabies is also a zoonotic disease, which means it can be transmitted to humans through an infected animal's bite.

As responsible dog parents, we need to know the basics of rabies, its signs and symptoms, and how it can affect your pets.

Transmission and Symptoms of Rabies

Rabies is commonly transmitted through the bite of an infected animal. The virus will travel up the spinal cord and to the brain. The rabies virus can live in the body for approximately 24 weeks. In humans, its incubation period has been recorded as up to a year. When the virus reaches the brain, the animal will begin to show signs.

Rabies has two forms and both have different symptoms. In the first form, the infected dog will not show any signs of aggression and will not be afraid of humans. In the more aggressive form, the dog may appear nervous, try to bite and chew on different objects, and drool excessively.

Other signs of rabies include: 

  • Change in behavior (including aggression, restlessness, and lethargy)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Seizures
  • Shakiness
  • Disorientation
  • Paralysis
  • Foaming at the mouth

Unfortunately, there is no cure for rabies, and animals that show signs of rabies must eventually be euthanized.

Church Ranch Veterinary Center

As pet owners, we want to make sure our furry friend stays protected. You can protect your dogs and cats from this condition by vaccinating them at a young age and then again with a booster shot every year. Vaccination is the only thing that can protect your pet from this disease. If you have questions or need to get your pet up-to-date on their vaccines, visit Church Ranch Veterinary Center in the Westminster area.

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