World Rabies Day is September 28, serving as a reminder to us all to make sure our furry friends are up to date on their vaccines.
When it comes to rabies, pet owners often have many questions for their veterinarian but aren’t sure where to start. Don’t worry! We’ve outlined a few of the most common questions pet owners have about rabies and the rabies vaccine.
- What is rabies and how is it spread?
Rabies is a preventable, viral disease that attacks the nervous system, causing damage to the brain and leading to death. Rabies secretes in saliva and is transmitted through bites from a rabies infected animal. Unfortunately, once the symptoms of rabies set in, the disease is almost always fatal, which is why the vaccine is so important in making sure you and your pet live a happy, healthy life together.
- When should I get my pet vaccinated?
Rabies, like many viral diseases, can be prevented with a vaccination. Dogs and cats should receive their first rabies vaccination as young as three months old. Records of your pet’s vaccinations should be handled by a veterinarian you trust who will also establish a vaccine schedule to ensure your pet will receive a rabies booster shot a year later.
- What if my pet is bitten?
First thing’s first—don’t panic—but DO contact your veterinarian right away. The AVMA says that though your pet may be vaccinated against rabies already, your veterinarian is likely to recommend revaccination immediately. They will also advise you to observe your pet for up to a week depending on local ordinances. Unfortunately, for pets that were never vaccinated against rabies and get infected, euthanasia or months of isolation may be required.
The importance of vaccines, especially the rabies vaccine, cannot be stressed enough. Providing your pet with their best, happiest life means keeping them up to date on all of their vaccines, scheduling regular wellness exams with a veterinarian, and being the best caregiver you can be.
Though this blog serves as a helpful tool, we encourage all pet parents to call and make an appointment with one of our five Animal Health Center locations. Our compassionate team of veterinarian professionals will answer any and all questions related to your pet’s health.
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