World Rabies Awareness Day is September 28. It was started to give the public knowledge of how rabies is spread and how it can be prevented. When people know about rabies, what to look for, and what to do if exposed to rabies; lives may be saved.
What Is Rabies?
Rabies is a deadly viral disease that can infect all mammals. It is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be transmitted from one species to another.
How Is Rabies Spread?
Rabies virus is spread by infected saliva that enters the body by inhalation or broken skin. The virus spreads through the nervous system up to the brain where it causes such severe inflammation that it will cause death.
The first symptoms of rabies are similar to that of the flu with general weakness, fever, or headache. Symptoms progress within days to signs of anxiety, confusion, and agitation.
Wild animals (raccoons, skunks, coyotes, foxes and bats) infected with rabies, tend to become disoriented and will come into the public. Bats infected with rabies lose the ability to fly and will enter into homes and back yards.
Once animals start to show signs of rabies, the virus is almost always fatal. Any contact with a rabid animal by a pet or human is a potential for spread of rabies.
Diagnosis of rabies is made by examination of the brain for the rabies virus antigens. Results may be made within a few hours after a rabid animal is exposed to a person. This will allow quicker post-exposure treatment if the examination for the virus is positive. If an animal is shown to be rabies free, no post-exposure treatment will be required.
Prevention is the best treatment. Pets should be up to date on their rabies vaccine. If a pet is bitten or exposed to a rabid animal and unvaccinated, it will either have to be euthanized or quarantined for 6 months under a veterinarian's care.
Never, Never, Never pick up a wild animal. Even if the animal does not have rabies, their bites can cause serious infection. When a wild animal or stray pet has come into your back yard and is acting strangely, you should contact your local animal control to remove the animal.
If you or your pet should be bitten, clean the wound immediately. One of the best ways to prevent infection is to wash the wound with soap and water. Once the wound has been cleaned, seek medical attention. Your doctor or veterinarian will help determine what procedures should be taken next.
Give Us a Call Today
Keep yourself and your pets safe from rabies. For more information or to make a vaccination appointment, please call us at (708) 331- 4640