Rabies is a fatal viral disease that affects warm bloodied animals. The virus enters its victim by a bite from an infected animal or from the animal’s saliva contacting an open wound . The incubation period , the time from exposure to showing symptoms, is extremely variable because the virus travels along nerve fibers to reach the brain. The closer the bite to the head, the faster symptoms arise.
Rabies causes 26,000 to 55,000 deaths worldwide per year, mainly in Asia and Africa. We have a low incidence in the United States because of prevention. All dogs are required to be vaccinated against rabies.
I commonly hear that people don’t vaccinate their cats against rabies because they never go outside or because it’s not required. It was a shock for a couple back east whose 14 YO cat who never went outside was diagnosed with rabies. The cat was euthanized and the couple had to go through treatment. The CDC reported over 250 rabies cases in cats as compared to 50 cases in dogs.
Bats are the main carriers of rabies in Oregon. Recently a resident in Sisters found a dead bat in his dog’s mouth. Luckily the dog was current on its rabies vaccination and only had a 45 day quarantine. Unvaccinated animals require a 6 month quarantine or euthanasia.
Protect yourselves and all your pets by staying current on their Rabies vaccination.