Thanks to mandatory rabies vaccination laws and widespread compliance, rabies is not the prevalent disease that it once was. Even so, it is a deadly and frightening disease. People often fear what they don’t understand, and rabies is no exception. We encourage you to learn the truth about rabies so you can feel confident you’re doing everything possible to protect your pet. We debunk five of the most common myths about rabies below.
Don’t Believe Everything You Hear About Rabies
Many people believe that an animal who is bitten by another animal with rabies doesn’t have the disease until the infection spreads to the brain. The reality is that your pet would have rabies from the moment of contact with an infected animal. The disease has an incubation period ranging from 10 to 60 days. Not only does the infection reach the brain in that time, it can also spread to your pet’s central nervous system and muscle tissues. The location and severity of the bite can affect the length of the incubation period and where the infection spreads.
Unfortunately, a bite from an animal infected with rabies is not the only way your pet can acquire it. The other animal can transmit rabies just by having saliva on the claws and scratching your pet. Many pet owners are unaware of this and continue to believe a direct bite is the only method of transmission.
Another common fallacy people believe about rabies is that stray dogs are the only carriers. Any unvaccinated pet can potentially be a carrier, as can wild animals such as foxes, wolves, and racoons.
The media often portrays a dog with rabies foaming at the mouth, which means some people are only familiar with this symptom. This is a late-stage rabies symptom and animals this far advanced need to be euthanized for their comfort and the safety of others. A domestic pet infected with rabies will show other symptoms long before this. The most common ones include abrupt changes in behavior
, lack of appetite, seizures, disorientation, and paralysis in the hind legs.
Protect Your Pet Today
The myth we really want to put to rest at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo is that getting a rabies vaccine is painful for your pet and causes serious side effects. While a vaccine could cause mild effects such as fatigue, this passes quickly. We check your pet’s rabies vaccine status at every preventive care exam
and give a shot or booster accordingly. The mild discomfort she may feel is much better than acquiring the painful, deadly disease of rabies.
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