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Rabies 101

September 15, 2023

World Rabies Day is coming up on September 30th. All pet owners should be aware of the dangers rabies poses: it’s one of the most terrifying diseases out there! A local Clarkesville, GA vet goes over some key points about this deadly virus in this article.

Key Facts About Rabies

Rabies is a zoonotic disease, which means it can be transmitted across different species. There are two different kinds. Furious rabies is the one most people think of when they hear the word rabies. This is the type that causes extreme aggression. Paralytic rabies—or dumb rabies, as it is also called—has the opposite effect, causing lethargy and weakness. Both are deadly. Once symptoms appear, there is a nearly 100% fatality rate. In fact, only 29 people have ever survived it.

How Is Rabies Transmitted?

Rabies is most often transmitted by bite, though the disease can be spread through scratches, or by mutual grooming. Pets are often infected by wild animals, such as foxes and raccoons. While humans are most often infected via bites from rabid dogs, cats can also transmit the disease. 

What Animals Can Get Rabies?

Rabies can affect many different animals. The numbers do change a bit with location. For instance, here in North America, it’s most often found in wild raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes. The mongoose is the most commonly infected animal in the Caribbean, while jackals are Africa’s number one suspect.

Why Is Rabies So Dangerous?

One of the things that makes rabies so dangerous to pets is the fact that there is no way to test a live animal for infection. Sadly, that means animals that are suspected of being rabid are often euthanized. There are, unfortunately, also no treatment options that are effective once symptoms start. In humans, that can take up to a year. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Rabies? 

Signs of rabies include agitation, restlessness, drooling, vomiting, reduced appetite, and an unsteady gait. These will continually become more pronounced as the disease progresses. Contact your vet immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.

Protecting Your Pet

Fortunately, it’s easy to protect your furry friends from this deadly disease. Just keep up with their vaccinations! We also recommend spay/neuter surgery. And, to err on the side of caution, don’t let your four-legged buddy interact with wild animals.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if ever we can be of assistance. As your local Clarkesville, GA veterinary clinic, we’re always here to help!

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