Rabies, as you may know, can affect both people and pets. The disease is viral, and is generally spread through saliva, with bites being the most common method of contagion. Rabies is a zoonotic disease, so it can be transmitted from one species to another. The disease is treatable, but with one major catch: medication has to be administered before symptoms appear. Unfortunately, once signs of the disease begin to show, chances of survival become very slim.
Types of Rabies
There are actually two different kinds of rabies. Furious rabies causes behavioral changes, and is often characterized by extreme aggression. The other kind, paralytic rabies, also known as dumb rabies, has a very different effect. Pets with this type of rabies often become very weak and lethargic. As the disease progresses, it often leads to paralysis.
Behavioral changes are typically the first symptom of rabies. Your dog’s bark may sound a bit different than usual, or he may seem restless. Your furry friend may also chew or lick at the place where he or she was bitten. Lack of appetite is another red flag, as is fever. More serious symptoms will appear as the disease progresses. Some of the things you may see include seizures; muscle spasms; confusion; unusual or erratic behavior; and/or excessive drooling. Pica, which is the term for eating things that aren’t food, can also be symptomatic of rabies.
Protecting Your Pet
Fortunately, some simple precautions will help keep your beloved pet safe. First and foremost, keep up with your furry pal’s vaccinations. Spaying or neutering will also help, as intact pets are more likely to wander. Last but not least, when walking your dog, don’t let him approach wild animals. If you suspect your pet was bitten by a wild animal, or if you notice any of the symptoms listed above, contact your vet immediately. Time is of the essence, so don’t wait!
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