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Rabies 101

September 1, 2021

World Rabies Day is September 28th! We know, rabies isn’t exactly something to celebrate. However, it is important to spread awareness about it. Rabies is much more dangerous than many people realize. A Spring Hill, TN veterinarian goes over some facts about rabies below.


Sobering Statistics

One might think that rabies is a thing of the past, but it’s unfortunately far from vanquished. Rabies pops up periodically, and causes an estimated 59,000 human deaths worldwide every year. While any transmissible disease is a concern, rabies is particularly dangerous. In fact, it’s the deadliest disease known to man. Once symptoms develop, it has almost a 100 percent fatality in humans. What’s even more sobering is the fact that once symptoms do develop, there are no known treatment options. There is also no way to test live animals for rabies. If all that weren’t bad enough, rabies is also zoonotic, which means it can be transferred from animals to people.


Transmission

Even the sweetest pet can sometimes get a bit aggressive when they come into contact with a wild or strange animal. This is one reason pets have such a high risk of contracting rabies. The disease is spread through saliva, and is typically contracted by the bite of an infected animal. The most common culprits are raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes, but many other animals can be rabid. Once an animal (or person) has been infected, the virus travels to the brain, where it wreaks havoc on the nervous system.


Symptoms

Rabies presents with a variety of symptoms. These can include staggering, stumbling, excessive drool, trouble swallowing, and timidity of fearfulness. Aggressive behavior can also be a warning sign, but that isn’t always the case. Some animals actually become very affectionate and cuddly. (This may be because they sense something is wrong and are seeking comfort.) Contact your vet immediately if your pet shows any of these signs.


Preventative

Fortunately, there is some good news here. Rabies infections are 100 percent preventable. As you probably know, the rabies vaccine is considered one of the core vaccines, which is recommended not only by the AMVA, but also by any reputable veterinarian. If your furry bff hasn’t been vaccinated, or is perhaps due for a booster, make an appointment today. 


Do you need to make an appointment for your pet? Contact us, your local Spring Hill, TN animal clinic, today!

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