Rabies is a disease that is almost always fatal for mammals. Dogs and cats, as well as other animals, are more likely to get rabies because they have a higher risk of getting exposed to other animals who are infected. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to keep your pet from getting rabies.
1. Stay on top of vaccines.
Pets get vaccines just like humans do. If you get your dog from a shelter or from a breeder, the animal most likely already has had a few rounds of routine vaccines, including a vaccination against rabies. However, to keep up immunity, dogs need booster shots throughout their life. This is something that pet owners can forget about. They feel like the shot work is done, and then time passes quickly as a dog grows into adulthood.
2. Never leave your dog to wander outdoors at night.
Dogs should spend the night inside the house or in a kennel with a heated dog house and a secure gate. Carrier animals like raccoons and bats are more active at night, and dogs who are loose can easily be exposed to rabies simply be being curious or by trying to play with or chase off infected animals who come near the house. You can make your home less appealing to wild intruders by making sure all trash cans have tight-fitting lids and by keeping dog and cat food dishes inside, instead of leaving them on the porch.
3. See your vet after any attack or altercation with another animal.
You try to keep your dog out of scrapes and fights, but sometimes, you can't prevent accidents. You dog might get on the wrong side of another dog, or even get bitten by a squirrel or scratched by a stray cat. You should always see the vet right away to get a rabies booster and to have any bite or scratch wound examined. You can't detect whether or not your dog is infected right away because rabies can sometimes take months to begin showing any symptoms at all. The key is to catch the infection in this more dormant period because once symptoms start to show, treatment is almost never effective.
Rabies is a deadly disease that should be taken very seriously. If you suspect that you or your pet has been exposed to rabies, you should both seek medical attention immediately. Contact a veterinarian office like Sepulveda Animal Hospital for more information and assistance.