What You Need To Know About Dog Rabies and How To Prevent It

What You Need To Know About Dog Rabies and How To Prevent It

Dog Rabies is a serious disease that you should be aware of. It is a rare disease that can affect both dogs and humans. The rabies virus can be spread through a bite or scratch from a rabid animal. When a rabid animal is exposed to saliva or nervous system tissue of an infected animal, it can become rabid itself and infect others. If your dog is bitten by a rabid animal and shows symptoms of the disease, it is critical that you seek medical attention immediately. In the United States, rabid animals are most commonly found in rural areas, such as in wooded forests and brushy areas. The CDC notes that, “People should avoid coming into contact with wild animals, especially wild animals that are sick or behaving abnormally.” The CDC also notes that, “Infected animals often show no early signs of rabies, so people should take precautions to avoid contact with them.

How Can My Dog Get Rabies?

It is important to note that rabies is transmitted to humans and dogs by the bite of a rabid animal. If your dog is bitten by a rabid animal, it is important to seek medical help immediately. Your dog may show symptoms of rabies within 24 hours. When your dog has been bitten by a rabid animal, he or she may show some of the following signs: Crying without making a sound Hissing Licking or biting the bite area Spitting or foaming at the mouth Biting or licking at the eyes Low activity or lethargy Strained breathing Inability to move Excessive salivation Pain in the throat or face In rare cases, a dog can show no signs of the disease after it has been bitten by a rabid animal. Do I Need to Vaccinate My Dog?

What Are the Symptoms of Rabies?

Bites or scratches from rabid animals may lead to a type of fever and flu-like symptoms for the person or animal. The symptoms can include: Fever Vomiting Diarrhea Lethargy Anhidrosis (or the inability to sweat) Aggression Contractions (stiffening of the limbs, or jerking) Rapid breathing Stupor Slurred speech Infected animals may also display symptoms of the disease. Dogs who have been exposed to the rabies virus will: Show signs of aggression Have trouble breathing Be lethargic or unresponsive Bite humans Contain viruses or bacteria What Are the Risks of Rabies in Dogs? Unfortunately, the risk of infection to humans from a dog bite is very low.

How Is Rabies Diagnosed and Treated?

The first step to diagnosis is a physical examination and lab tests that include neurological and serum tests. Rabies is a life-threatening disease that can lead to coma and death if left untreated. The only treatment for the disease is through intravenous administration of rabies immunoglobulin. If a person or animal gets the virus, they may need surgery to remove infected tissues. When Do Symptoms Show Up? There are three phases of rabies: The clinical, the relapse and the subclinical. During the clinical phase, an animal may exhibit nonspecific symptoms. The symptoms that a dog or cat will show are fever, lethargy, vomiting and an aversion to water. For people, rabies can come on very quickly and without warning.

How Can You Prevent Rabies?

According to the CDC, the best way to prevent the spread of rabies is to prevent animal contact with healthy animals. Make sure that any game you have and other wild animals are appropriately tagged. A rabies tag will show you where it was purchased and where it was acquired. Wild animals may be placed in separate housing, such as pet kennels. In addition, the CDC notes that you should always be aware of your surroundings and who might be around your pet. Be wary of stray animals and any unknown people in your neighborhood, as they could also be infected with the rabies virus. Use a dog safety harness, when in the outdoors, so that you can safely avoid being bitten by an animal. Use only sight, hearing, and good sense when handling your pet.

What if I Come Across a Rabid Animal?

The CDC recommends that you take some precautionary measures when around wild animals, including taking in animals that might appear sick or injured, and avoid contact with wild animals. If you believe you have come across a rabid animal, do not approach the animal. Call the animal control agency, local health department or police. The animal control officer can pick up the animal for testing. If the animal is in an area where it is not supposed to be, call a nearby veterinarian. You should not approach or feed any animals that look sick or injured.

What if My Dog Has Contact With a Potentially Rabid Animal?

If your dog has had contact with a potentially rabid animal, such as a raccoon, bat, or wolf, you need to take action. You should contact a veterinarian and have your pet treated. Fortunately, you can get your dog vaccinated against rabies through a series of shots over a number of months or through a series of IV treatments. The vaccine can prevent the transmission of rabies and is given in your dog’s weight class. Each shot should be given in a series, and boosters can be given until your dog is three years old. However, if you have more than one pet, you should first get them vaccinated. Otherwise, any bite or scratch your dog may have received to that other pet could lead to rabies in that pet. Although the disease is not very common, you should not take the risk with your dog.

What if I Think a Rabid Animal Has Bitten Me?

Most likely, your dog was bitten by a rabid animal. If you think your dog has been bitten by a wild animal, he or she should not be around wild animals. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal that is not known to be rabid, you should follow these steps to seek medical attention: Put cotton or gauze over the area and try to keep your dog still. This will stop the swelling. After you’ve applied the gauze, immobilize your dog in a safe location and call your local animal control department to help you get medical treatment. Call your veterinarian right away if your dog has been bitten by a dog, cat, or other animal that is known to be rabid. Your veterinarian may need to administer a shot of anti-rabies vaccine.

What Exactly is Rabies?

Rabies is an infectious disease that is caused by the rabies virus. The rabies virus causes inflammation of the brain. Those who have the disease usually die from encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or tissue death (cerebral die-off). The rabies virus causes the death of the brain cells. It kills brain cells without any outward signs of the disease. Symptoms Those who have rabies will usually show symptoms before the disease has progressed. Signs of rabies usually appear in the first 30 days after an infected animal bites or scratches you or another person. Other symptoms of rabies include fever, confusion, anxiety, aggressiveness, abnormal behavior, hallucinations, agitation, excitability, seizures, and difficulty swallowing.

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