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Rabies 101

September 15, 2023

September 28 is World Rabies Day. This is definitely an important topic for pet owners. Rabies is actually the deadliest disease in the world. Although it is completely preventable, by way of vaccines, it’s still. A  quite active. A local New Albany, IN vet offers some insight into rabies, and offers some advice on protecting your pet, in this article.

Rabies Basics 

Rabies is a viral disease. It is typically spread through saliva, usually through bites. It is zoonotic, which means it can pass between species. What makes rabies so terrifying is the fact that it can only be treated before symptoms start. Beyond that, it has a staggering 99.95 percent mortality rate.

The Numbers

The data on rabies is quite sobering. There are only 29 cases on record of people having survived the disease. It’s also much more common than many people think: every year, it accounts for roughly 56,000 deaths. Here in the US, dogs, however, are the main cause of infections in humans. Our canine companions often contract it via infected wild animals, such as skunks, raccoons, bats, and foxes. In fact, just recently there was a story in the news about a man who contracted the disease after being bitten by a rabid bat while sleeping. Unfortunately, he did not survive.

Types of Rabies 

There are two types of rabies. Furious rabies is the most common, and the one that causes the behavioral changes, such as aggression, that many people associate with rabies. The second kind, paralytic rabies, has almost the opposite effect, leading to weakness and lethargy, and in many cases eventually causes paralysis. About a fifth of all rabies cases in humans are paralytic, though the disease is often misdiagnosed.

Symptoms

While symptoms may vary a bit from pet to pet, there are some warning signs to watch for. Fido may bark differently than he usually does. Other red flags include restlessness, pacing, lack of appetite, and fever. Dogs often lick or bite at the spots where they were bitten. As the disease progresses, you may see symptoms such as muscle spasms, confusion, strange behavior, and/or excessive drooling.

Protecting Your Pet

The good news is that it is relatively simple to protect your pet from this deadly disease. The biggest and most crucial thing is to keep up with your furry pal’s vaccinations. We’d also advise trying to avoid allowing Fido to come into contact with wild animals.

Does your pet need rabies vaccinations? We can help! Contact us, your New Albany, IN vet clinic, today! 

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