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4 Steps to Protect Your Pet Against Rabies

Did you know that rabies is the deadliest disease in the world? It has a nearly 100 percent fatality rate, once symptoms start. Just the word “rabies” tends to conjure up some frightening images in the mind’s eye. Because rabies is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can be transmitted from animals to humans, it’s particularly dangerous. Rabies has been all but eliminated in the United States and many other parts of the world, thanks to modern vaccination and wild animal control measures. However, you’ll still need to take the proper precautions to make sure your pet stays safe. Here’s how: 

Vaccinate Your Pet

Your pet’s core vaccines should include the rabies vaccine. This is going to be his or her first line of defense against the rabies virus. Puppies and kittens as young as three months old or so can receive the rabies vaccination, and they’ll probably need some follow-up booster shots before receiving additional rabies vaccines every few years. 

If your pet needs the rabies vaccination, or if you’re unsure whether or not your pet has already received it, contact your vet’s office for help. 

Supervise While Outdoors

Rabies is spread through the bite of an infected animal. It’s very important to keep a close eye on your pet outdoors in order to stop them from encountering wild animals, like raccoons or opossums. Keep your pet on a leash whenever you go on walks, and don’t let them stray too far. If you live in or near wooded areas, or anywhere that wild animals may pass through, don’t let your pet outside unsupervised. 

Spay and Neuter

You might be surprised to learn that having your pet spayed or neutered is a good way to prevent the risk of contracting the rabies virus. That’s because spaying and neutering reduces your pet’s urge to wander in order to find themselves a mate. Not only will you avoid the hassle and heartache of a lost pet, you don’t need to worry about them coming in contact with a wild animal that could be rabid. 

Watch for Signs of Illness 

Some symptoms of rabies include lethargy, loss of appetite, light and touch sensitivity, fever, and uncharacteristic aggression. Seizures and paralysis can occur if the disease progresses. Tell your veterinary professional right away if you see these signs. 

All things considered, the risk of rabies is very low for your pet. But make sure to take the right steps to keep it that way. Call your vet’s office for help!

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