Rabies is not a common disease, but it is extrememly fatal to humans and our pets. It is a virus transmitted from an infected animal via a bite or contact with infected saliva into an open wound.
Sypmtoms of rabies are subtle at first and can vary greatly, making it difficult to diagnose. Animals can transmit the virus before they show symptoms. The only definitive way to diagnose rabies is with a microscopic analysis of the brain, and it cannot be diagnosed on a living animal.
There is no treatment for rabies. There have been several recent cases of humans infected with rabies. In these cases the humans were bitten by unvaccinated cats or dogs, or by bats. Bites from bats are so small that they often go unnoticed in humans and on our pets.
In the case where a person is bitten by an animal, the vaccination status of the pet can provide important information to the victim’s medical professionals. Unvaccinated animals are at increased risk; if they should bite a person, a 10-day quarantine or euthanasia is recommended and may be mandated by legal action. If the animal should die within that 10-day period, it must be tested. If it becomes ill, euthanasia and testing is recommended. Vaccinated animals are at very low risk for rabies and are usually safe with only a 10-day quarantine.
At Carver Lake Veterinary Center, our medical professinoals take some personal risk in hte handling of your pet who many be uncomfortable in the clinic environment, with unfamiliar people, and with some medical procedures. To keep your pets and our staff safe, we require that all dogs, cats, and ferrets seen at our clinic have a current vaccination for rabies and that documentation of the vaccination be on file.
Rabies is a serious disease for both humans and our pets. The rabies vaccine is an inexpensive, easy way to help protect your pet and your family.