We all know about rabies. We know how deadly it is for humans and animals. You’ve probably come across a few depictions of rabies in movies or cartoons. Who can forget the wild eyes, snarling teeth, and foaming at the mouth?
Some depictions are more accurate than others, and it can be hard sometimes for owners to tell an animal has rabies or not.
So what are the signs? (Please note that not all signs are exhibited by all animals)
- If it’s a wild animal, they may seem tame and friendly.
- They refuse to go near water.
- They hide, even though they’ve always loved socializing.
- They make choking sounds.
- You can’t get them to eat. They won’t even touch their favorite treats.
- They appear to be disoriented. They likely stagger about as they walk.
- They foam at the mouth.
- They tremble as if they fear everything around them.
- They behave strangely. Maybe they run in circles or snap at nothing.
- If they do eat, they eat things not meant to be food. It’s true that many pets like to chew on anything not nailed down, but this is worth keeping in mind.
- They’re very aggressive, even if they were sweet and docile before.
- They chew or lick the spot where the infected animal bit them.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), you can find rabies cases in 150 countries. As if that wasn’t scary enough, they also note that dogs are responsible for almost 99% of human rabies cases. Here in Ontario, our largest risk group is raccoons: https://unionvet.ca/2018/05/15/rabies-is-active-in-ontario-400-cases/
Since rabies is a disease that cannot be eradicated and it affects many animals including humans, it is mandatory to vaccinate all dogs and cats in Ontario. This vaccine must be given by a veterinarian according to the laws. Some people feel the vaccine is optional for indoor pets, but this is not true. All dogs and cats have to be up to date with rabies vaccines. There is no compromise when it comes to protecting the life of a human.
Vaccinating your pet has even a surprise benefit! Sure, the vaccine helps protect your pet from this terrible virus, but there’s more: Veterinary Practice News states that rabies vaccine “reduces the risk of death from any cause by 56 percent in dogs 0 to 3 months of age.” Dogs of all ages benefit from this discovery, but puppies seem to benefit the most.
There is no exact explanation why this vaccine lowers the risk of unrelated death, but it is hypothesized that the vaccine causes boost of protection against other health threats and diseases that have nothing to do with rabies by stimulating the unspecific immune response in the body. This is something every veterinarian wants you to keep in mind.
Doesn’t that sound great? There is more and more research coming out helping us understand that our (and our pets’) immune system need to be “exercised” regularly and over protecting it may cause problems. Here you go… may be vaccinating against rabies is a immune stimulant?
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Dr. Ernst Marsig, veterinarian in Markham
Fear Free Certified Practitioner
Practicing Veterinary Medicine in Markham for a Long and Happy Life of ALL Your Pets.
Animal Hospital of Unionville, a veterinary clinic on the north side of Hwy 7, serving all pets in Markham, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Stouffville, and North York since 1966. We are your family vets for dogs, cats, pocket pets (rabbits, chinchillas, gerbils, mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, skinny pigs, etc.), ferrets, and birds (budgies, cockatiel, parrots, amazon, cockatoo, love birds, conures, African greys, finches, canaries, etc.). We pride ourselves to provide cost effective veterinary medicine and give you options for treatments. Some may think our services as cheap, but our goal is to give good value.
Disclaimer: No part of this website constitutes medical advice. Readers are advised to consult with their veterinarian.