Is My Pet Safe from Rabies?

World Rabies Day, marked every September 28th, raises awareness about a fatal disease affecting humans and animals globally. Rabies, a viral infection impacting mammals’ brains and nervous systems, poses risks to domestic and wild animals, including dogs and cats, due to its transmission through saliva or bites. This blog explores whether dogs and cats can contract rabies and emphasizes preventive measures.

Dogs and cats can indeed get rabies, with these domestic animals being highly susceptible to the virus. While rare in the United States, rabies remains prevalent in some global regions, especially where vaccination and animal control programs are limited. The virus transmits via the saliva of infected animals, primarily through bites, leading to rapid nervous system spread and eventual fatality.

Signs and symptoms of rabies in dogs and cats resemble those in humans. Early-stage symptoms include behavioral changes, fever, and decreased appetite. As the virus progresses, more severe indications arise, including seizures, aggression, paralysis, and difficulty swallowing. Dogs typically exhibit the “dumb” form, characterized by lethargy and eventual death, while cats more often display the “furious” form, marked by hyperactivity and aggression.

Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent rabies in dogs and cats. Routine rabies vaccinations are crucial for all cats and dogs, offering protection against the virus and reducing human infection risks. Additionally, pet owners should take precautions, such as keeping pets indoors and avoiding contact with stray or wild animals. If a pet suffers a bite from another animal, prompt veterinary care and reporting the incident to local animal control authorities are essential.

Rabies, a severe and often fatal disease, poses a global threat to humans and animals. While it remains rare in dogs and cats in the United States, pets worldwide still succumb to rabies. Therefore, proactive measures to protect pets are essential. Vaccination remains the most effective defense, supplemented by keeping pets away from stray or wild animals. As World Rabies Day approaches, schedule a rabies vaccination for your pets to contribute to the fight against rabies!