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Veterinary Community Recognizes World Rabies Day 2015

0 Comments Posted by Crystal Weyers in General, What Your Clients Are Reading, What's New on Tuesday, September 29th, 2015.

Crystal WeyersMonday marked the eighth annual observance of World Rabies Day.

First co-sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.K.-based Alliance for Rabies Control in 2007, September 28 has become a day to raise awareness about the threat Rabies poses to humans and their pets.

A preventable viral disease in mammals most often spread through bites from rabid animals, cases of rabies are most often reported in raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes; however, rabies can affect domestic pets – and humans, too. Once infected, the disease begins attacking the central nervous system and ultimately leads to disease in the brain and death.

Each year, approximately 40,000 Americans receive post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), a series of shots administered after potential exposure to rabies. Worldwide, nearly one person dies every nine minutes from the disease. It’s not all bad news, however, as rabies can be treated and prevented through vaccines.

 

Steps You Can Take

  1. Visit Your Veterinarian: Making sure your pet is up-to-date on its rabies shot will protect it from infection. If your pet’s vaccination has expired and it becomes exposed to rabies, it will need to be quarantined for six months or put down. Spaying/neutering is also an important measure that helps reduce the number of unwanted and stray animals – who are often unvaccinated and in close contact with wild animals who could be carrying the disease.
  2. Keep Your Distance from Unfamiliar Animals and Wildlife: Do not feed or handle wild animals, even if they seem friendly. More than 90% of rabies cases reported to the CDC each year occur in wild animals. The same advice should be taken with stray/unfamiliar cats and dogs and dead animals.
  3. Make Your Home A Safe Haven: Monitor your pets’ outdoor activity; keep your garbage securely covered; don’t leave pet food or water outdoors; teach children never to handle wild or unfamiliar domestic animals.

Symptoms To Look For:

If you see an animal behaving strangely, report it to animal control. An animal could be infected with rabies if:

  • It’s biting at everything
  • It’s drooling or salivating excessively
  • It’s having trouble moving or may be paralyzed
  • It appears more tame than you would expect
  • It appears sick or is having trouble swallowing

Although cases of rabies in the U.S. are now rare, with only one to three reported annually, it’s still important to be aware of the dangers and ways in which you can help keep that number down. The number of human deaths attributed to rabies has been on the decline since the 1970’s due to animal control and vaccination programs, treatment following exposure, and successful outreach campaigns. While domestic dogs have long been the biggest rabies threat in the world, safety measures like these have helped lower the risk in the United States. Follow these recommendations and you can help continue to keep yourself safe – as well as the special furry members of your family.

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