Rabies is an acute viral infection that can affect all warm-blooded animals – including dogs and cats. The disease is almost always caused by the bite of an infected animal that has rabies virus in its saliva. Younger animals are usually more susceptible to rabies infection. And it’s always fatal once clinical signs appear.
What if my dog has possibly been exposed?
If your pet has been bitten by or exposed to a wild or potentially rabid animal, talk with your veterinarian right away and report it to local animal control authorities. Even if your pet has a current vaccination, you should still contact your veterinarian. Your pet may need to be quarantined for a period of 10 days after the exposure or immediately re-vaccinated.
Signs and Prevention
Once the rabies virus enters the body, it travels along the nerves to the brain. It can take a matter of days, weeks or months for your pet to show signs of the rabies virus.
- Infected animals often show anxiety, aggression, restlessness and erratic behavior.
- They also may develop weakness, poor coordination or tremors.
- Wild rabid animals commonly lose their fear of humans.
- Species that are normally nocturnal may be seen wandering about during the day.
Dogs, cats or ferrets that have never been vaccinated and are exposed to a rabid animal may need to be euthanized or placed in strict isolation for six months. Check with your veterinarian or local public health official for requirements.
Vaccinate Your Pet
Your veterinarian is committed to helping you make the best choices for your pet’s health. To give your pet the protection it needs, our hospital complies with the law and vaccinates your pet with rabies vaccine.