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World Rabies Day

September 15, 2020

Did you know that September 28th is World Rabies Day? It’s also National Ghost Hunting Day, but we’ll stick with rabies. This deadly disease causes thousands of deaths each year. Unfortunately, it’s been making a bit of a comeback in North America recently. A Bend, OR vet discusses rabies in this article.


Rabies Basics

Rabies is a viral disease that can afflict both humans and animals. It’s zoonotic, which means it can be transferred from one species to another. As you may know, it is usually transmitted through bites. Although rabies can be treated, there is a major caveat: treatment must be given before symptoms appear. If allowed to progress past that point, the disease is almost always fatal. In fact, it has a mortality rate of 99.95 percent.


Types of Rabies

There are actually two separate types of rabies. Paralytic rabies, or dumb rabies, tends to make animals very weak and lethargic. As the name suggests, paralysis is often a result. Furious rabies is a bit more well-known. This is the kind that leads to behavioral changes, and sometimes causes animals to act extremely aggressive. 


Symptoms

Erratic and uncharacteristic behaviors are usually the first warning sign that an animal has rabies. At first, pets may just seem jittery. They may also vocalize differently than they usually do. Some may chew or lick their bite wounds. As the disease progresses, you may see more red flags. A lack of appetite isn’t uncommon. More serious signs include hydrophobia, or fear of water; seizures; aggressive behavior; and/or excessive drooling. Pica, which means eating things that aren’t food, can also be an indication of rabies. 


Protecting Your Pet 

Now for the good news. Taking some basic precautions will greatly reduce the chance of your beloved pet contracting this horrible disease. The number one thing is to stay up to date with your furry friend’s vaccines. We also strongly recommend spaying or neutering your pet. Dogs and cats that have been fixed are much less likely to run off looking for love. They also tend to be less aggressive than intact ones. Finally, keep your dog leashed for walks, and don’t let him come into contact with wild animals. If you have a cat, keeping Fluffy inside will help keep her safe. 


As your Bend, OR vet clinic, we are dedicated to offering top-notch veterinary care. Reach out to us anytime! 



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