Although most of us know that rabies is a life-threatening disease, many are unaware of exactly what rabies is or the importance of prevention. With World Rabies Day taking place on September 28th, this is the perfect time to discuss the specifics of this disease along with how and why you should take the necessary precautions to ensure your pets do not become infected.
Rabies is transmitted through the saliva or blood from one infected mammal to the other. The primary carriers of rabies include: bats, raccoons, skunks and fox.
Have you ever stopped to wonder why it is unlawful to have your pets unvaccinated for the rabies virus? This is due to the fact that rabies is one of the deadliest diseases on earth, with a 99.9% fatality rate. Even further, dogs are the most likely animal to infect humans with rabies.
According to the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, below are the most common symptoms of rabies in pets:
- behaviour change, either:
- more quiet or depressed
- unusually friendly when normally timid
- more aggressive toward people, animals, objects, even its own body
- loss of appetite or difficulty eating or drinking
- barking or meowing differently
- drooling excessively
- biting the site of the wound where the animal was exposed to rabies
- overreacting to touch, sound or light
- staggering or falling
- becoming partially or completely paralyzed (unable to move)
In most parts of Ontario, your cat or dog must be vaccinated for rabies as soon as it’s 3 months old and must be kept up-to-date for its entire life.
It’s important to remember that all cats and dogs (including indoor-only cats) must be vaccinated against rabies. Although unlikely, infected wildlife can enter your home and infect pets.
“Although rabies is one of the most deadly diseases for pets, it is also one of the most preventable,” says Matt Truesdale, RVT at London Humane Society. “This is why we strive to ensure that all dogs and cats in our care who are old enough to receive this important vaccination do so, prior to adoption.”
Help us continue to provide essential medical care (including but not limited to vaccinations, medications and spay/neuter surgery) to the surrendered, neglected and mistreated pets in London & Middlesex County by becoming a PAW Monthly Donor.
Article written by Claire Belsheim, Marketing Coordinator at London Humane Society