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Some Facts About Rabies

Tuesday, April 9, 2013
posted by Jim Murphy

Rabies is a very serious disease that is caused by a virus. Rabies is spread by infected animals and humans can contact rabies if they are scratched or bitten by an infected animal.  The rabies virus affects the central nervous system and is usually fatal. Some symptoms of rabies are:

  • fever
  • headache
  • weakness

As the disease progresses, other symptoms like anxiety, hallucinations, increase in saliva, partial paralysis and fear of water usually occur. When these symptoms begin, death is usually only a few days away.  Bats are the most common source of rabies infection in the United States. Skunks, raccoons, dogs, cats, coyotes, foxes, and other mammals can also transmit the disease.

Human Rabies is rare in the U.S. but tens of thousands are vaccinated each year after animal bites. Rabies is far more common in other parts of the world, with about 40,000 – 70,000 rabies-related deaths worldwide each year. Bites from unvaccinated dogs cause most of these cases.

A Rabies vaccine can prevent Rabies. It’s very important to get your pets vaccinated, especially if they are outside. There are state laws requiring it. Last week, while in Delaware,  I took my cat Mollie to the vet, they asked me if she’s had the rabies vaccine. I said that she did when she was very young but that she stays indoors. They said that it didn’t matter and that she has to be vaccination once again because Delaware requires regular Rabies vaccinations for all pets.

Remember, your pets count!

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