Do you need to learn about what rabies is like in dogs? Rabies is a very dangerous and always deadly condition that can easily affect unvaccinated dogs. However, even though most pet owners know rabies is a frightening illness, many people may not know the specifics of the condition.
In the article below, we’ll explain some of the basics you may want to know about rabies in dogs. Read through this information so you can be more well-informed about this devastating illness, whether you are already a dog owner or plan to be one in the future. If you have any questions, call Lake City Animal Hospital at (386) 755-0236.
Rabies is highly contagious to warm-blooded animals.
All warm-blooded animals can potentially contract rabies, and it is extremely contagious. If your dog is exposed to any dog or other animal that has rabies or may be at risk for it, you need to take them to the veterinarian right away, as it is very likely they will contract rabies too.
Rabies is spread through saliva.
The saliva is the most common method of transmitting rabies from animal to animal, and this is why rabies is so closely associated with being bitten by animals. However, it is possible for rabies to spread from an infected animal to another one through cuts, open wounds, and scratches as well.
Rabies causes hydrophobia.
Rabies causes dogs (and all affected mammals) to become afraid of water. This, in turn, leads them to stop drinking and quickly leads to dehydration as well. The fear of water comes from the pain involved in trying to swallow as the disease causes the throat muscles to seize up.
Rabies is fatal and has no cure.
Rabies is a fatal disease for dogs as well as for most animals that contract it. Once symptoms begin, there is no cure. However, if you take your dog to the vet immediately after being bitten by an animal you’re unsure about, there is a chance that the disease can be treated before it finishes incubating.
Rabies has a variable incubation period.
In some cases, rabies symptoms may occur in ten or fewer days after the bite occurs. However, in other cases, it may take anywhere from three weeks to two months. In some very rare situations, rabies has incubated for years in an affected mammal.
Rabies is transmitted most often by bats and raccoons.
Both bats and raccoons are known for being the most common animals to carry and transmit rabies. However, any other warm-blooded animal can potentially spread it, and skunks and foxes are quickly becoming more common carriers of the disease as well. For this reason, you should never try to interact with wild animals and should never, under any circumstances, keep one for a pet.
Rabies can be contracted by humans, but it is uncommon.
In the United States, there are only about two known cases of rabies on average every year. Therefore, it is considered extremely uncommon in humans, although it is very possible for humans to contract rabies. Conversely, dogs and cats average about 500 cases of rabies in the United States per year.
Rabies is only transmittable after symptoms begin.
Before symptoms start, rabies cannot be transmitted during its incubation period. This is because it requires saliva as a vector for traveling from one infected dog or animal to the next. Additionally, once symptoms begin, there is no chance of curing rabies. A dog who is showing symptoms of this condition must be humanely euthanized as soon as possible by an experienced vet who can handle the complicated situation.
Rabies is present in 49 out of 50 states in the US.
Hawaii is the only state that has never had a case of rabies. It is much more common on the East Coast than throughout the rest of the US, although it can also be found in large numbers in the southern part of Arizona.
Rabies causes odd behavioral changes in the dog.
In the early stages of rabies infection, dogs may become much more friendly and clingy than they are usually. On the other hand, they may become more aggressive or afraid than normal too. In later stages, dogs become afraid of light and sound, and eventually begin to froth at the mouth.
As you can see, rabies is a scary condition and it is one that should be taken very seriously by any pet owner. For this reason, it is required by law throughout most of the United States and in many other countries worldwide, too, to have your dog vaccinated against rabies from an early age.
Puppies can be safely vaccinated for rabies by six months of age. Dogs should have a rabies booster vaccination every year for the rest of their lives, unless they receive the three-year rabies shot instead. You can speak to your vet for more information. Call Lake City Animal Hospital today at (386) 755-0236.