If you are like most people, your dog is a real part of your family. Not only does this family member deserve training, love, and fun, but your dog must also receive proper care to protect their health and wellness. Unfortunately, some people do not place much emphasis on vaccinating their dogs. Missing vaccinations can increase your dog's risk of developing serious and even fatal diseases. Rabies is one of these serious diseases that is fatal in most cases. Using this guide, you will learn a few interesting facts about rabies and how to protect your dog from this incurable disease.
Transmission Not Only Through Bites
The rabies virus is transmitted through bites in most instances. If your dog is bit by another animal that is infected with the virus, they will also develop rabies. Other dogs and cats may transmit the rabies virus, but the virus can also be transmitted by raccoons, foxes, skunks, and even bats.
Of course, bites are not the only way the rabies virus can be transmitted. Saliva or other bodily fluids spread from an infected animal to your dog's saliva or open wound may also be the cause of transmission.
Symptoms Can Be Frightening
After rabies is transmitted to your dog, you may not notice any signs. In many cases, symptoms will not show until 2 to 8 weeks after transmission.
The rabies virus may begin in the blood, but it spreads to the brain and spinal cord quickly. Initially, this can cause your dog's behavior to change dramatically. Even the most calm and gentle dogs will become aggressive and irritable after they are infected with the rabies virus. Dogs with the rabies virus tend to growl, scratch, and even bite, even if they do not feel threatened.
As the virus spreads through the brain and spinal cord, your dog may experience extreme sensitivity to lights, sounds, and touch. They will want to stay in dark, quiet places to avoid these new sensations. Dogs infected with the rabies virus will also suffer from paralysis of the throat and jaw, which causes them to foam at the mouth. The disease will also lead weakness, seizures, and eventually death.
Euthanasia Is an Option
If your dog is showing any of these unusual signs, it is best to visit your veterinarian immediately. While there are no medications or surgeries to treat rabies, your vet will offer you options.
Putting your dog to sleep, or euthanizing your dog, is one of the most common solutions after a rabies diagnosis. This will be difficult for you and your family. However, it is important to remember that your dog will no longer have to suffer from the uncomfortable symptoms of the disease.
Euthanasia may also be beneficial if you have other pets or children in the home. If your infected dog bites your other pet or a human member of your family, they will also contract the rabies virus.
Prevention Is Key
One of the most important facts to know about rabies is that it can be prevented. Your dog should follow a schedule to ensure they receive the appropriate vaccinations at the recommended times.
Again, most states have specific laws regarding rabies vaccines, but your dog should have their first rabies vaccination when they are one year old. The vaccine will be administered again every 1 to 3 years, depending on your specific state.
Proper understanding will help you learn the importance of rabies prevention. To learn more about this disease and to schedule a consultation for your dog's rabies vaccination, contact a veterinarian at an animal hospital such as 1st Pet Veterinary Centers today.