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Minnesota Veterinary Hospital Blog

World Rabies Day and the Importance of Vaccines

2015-09-20

The American Veterinary Medical Association launched World Rabies Day in 2007 as a way to raise awareness of the impact this disease has on both humans and animals. In 2012, more than 6,000 animals contracted rabies, many of them domestic pets. Approximately 55,000 people from around the world die because of rabies every year, although all but a handful are from underdeveloped countries. World Rabies Day this year takes place on September 28, and Minnesota Veterinary Hospital is doing our part to educate our clients about this disease.

 

How Rabies is Spread

As a pet owner, it's important to understand that rabies is 100 percent preventable by keeping up with regular vaccines. The disease is spread through saliva when an infected animal bites your dog or cat. Raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes, and bats are the most common carriers of rabies. Because of this, it's essential to keep your pet away from wildlife in addition to getting him vaccinated on schedule. Cats get rabies more than any other type of domestic pet, so keep your cat indoors if possible. If there are other pets in the house that do go outside, all pets should receive a rabies vaccination.

 

Symptoms of Rabies

 

The rabies virus typically incubates for two to eight weeks before the first symptoms appear. These may include:
 

  • Marked change in personality
  • Increased irritability or aggressiveness
  • Increased licking, biting, or chewing
  • Fever
  • Hypersensitivity to touch
  • Paralysis of jaw and throat muscle
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Disorientation
  • Seizures
  • Sudden death

 

There is currently no treatment or cure for rabies. Animals suspected of having the disease are usually euthanized to protect the public. If you suspect that your dog or cat has been in contact with a wild animal, contact us right away. You should also get in touch with the Ramsey County Public Health Department to report the incident.

 

Other Vaccines Are Equally Important

 

Minnesota Veterinary Hospital has a vaccine protocol in place for both dogs andcats. This includes core vaccines, which are required for every animal, and non-core vaccines, which we recommend on a case-by-case basis based on lifestyle and other factors. Please contact us with any questions or to schedule an appointment for your pet's vaccines.