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Know the Dangers of Rabies

Wag N' Wash Know the Dangers of Rabies
Published on: May 9, 2017

Everybody knows that the rabies virus is bad. But other than that, what do you really know about it? Do you know how it’s spread, what the symptoms are or what preventative measures you can take? When it comes to keeping your pets healthy and safe, the best plan is to be prepared!

Two dogs have tested positive for rabies in Colorado. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, these are the first cases of rabies among dogs in the state since 2003. Just this year, there have been 41 reported cases of rabies in wild animals across Colorado, particularly skunks. One of the infected dogs was attacked by a rabid skunk and that’s how the virus was introduced.

According to the CDC, while all mammals are susceptible to rabies virus infection, only a few species are important reservoirs for distinct strains of the disease. Namely raccoons, skunks, foxes and coyotes. Transmission of rabies usually starts when infected saliva is passed to an uninfected animal. This is most commonly through biting.

The rabies virus usually incubates from two to eight weeks before signs are noticed. Early symptoms of rabies may be similar to those of the flu. This includes weakness, fever, or headaches. If a pet has been bitten, they may constantly lick, bite or chew at the site. Within days symptoms can progress to cerebral dysfunction, anxiety, restlessness, confusion and agitation. Infected pets may eat unusual things or hide in dark places. Paralysis of the throat and jaw muscles may follow, resulting in the foaming at the mouth commonly associated with rabies. There is currently no treatment or cure and once clinical signs of rabies appear, the disease is nearly always fatal.

So what can you as a pet owner do to protect your cat or dog? Keep your companions up to date on their vaccines! Not only is this essential to keeping your pets healthy, it’s also the law. Keeping your pets on a leash while outside will minimize their risk of coming into contact with an infected wild animal. Don’t leave food outside. Whether it’s pet food or garbage you’ve put out, leaving food outside your house encourages wild animals to hang around. Finally, since most carrier animals tend to be nocturnal, make sure to bring your pets in at night. If you suspect your cat or dog may have been bitten or come in contact with a rabid animal, seek veterinary care immediately!

Looking for a fast, inexpensive way to get your pet’s vaccines up to date? Visit one of the professional vaccine clinics operated by VIP Petcare at any of our Colorado Springs, Littleton or Castle Rock locations. Call the store nearest you for times and details.

Information also shared from: http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/rabies-dogs#1

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