Rabies – What is it?

Q

 What is rabies?

 A

 Why all the fuss about rabies? Rabies is a ‘zoonotic’ disease meaning that the disease can be transmitted to humans by an animal.  Unfortunately, humans who are not treated early enough for rabies will, except under very rare circumstances, die.  Thus a special emphasis is placed upon vaccinating our pets to protect both them and us.

Rabies is a virus which can exist in certain wild animals such as raccoons, foxes, skunks, and bats. Dogs and cats are susceptible to rabies when the virus penetrates the skin usually from a bite from an infected animal.  It may take weeks for the virus to reach the brain by traveling up the nerves.  The symptoms can be quite variable.  Actually two forms of rabies can present themselves in an infected pet usually shortly before death. The classic form is ‘furious’ rabies which shows as disorientation and abnormal aggression.  The other form is ‘dumb’ rabies marked by stupor and paralysis.

Vaccination is the best way to protect pets and people from this dangerous disease.  Efforts are even ongoing to minimize the spread to wild animals by dropping rabies vaccine baits from airplanes over wooded areas in Ohio and other states. 

Please, comply with the law, and get your dog and/or cat vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian.