Rabies is an incurable viral disease that poses a significant threat to both animals and humans. This disease is a serious concern, and with World Rabies Day in September, it’s essential to shed light on this crucial issue.

The Incubation Period: A Silent Threat

Rabies is primarily transmitted through contact with the saliva of infected animals, most commonly via a bite from a rabid animal. Once exposed to the rabies virus, the affected animal enters an incubation period, a deceptive phase during which the virus silently replicates. The duration of this period can vary from weeks to months, and during this time, the infected animal shows no signs of illness and is not yet contagious.

Clinical Symptoms of Rabies

The incubation period concludes when the virus reaches the brain, initiating the onset of clinical symptoms. At this stage, the animal becomes clinically ill, and the virus wreaks havoc within the brain, altering the animal’s behavior. Signs of rabies in animals can include: fever, impaired mobility, hydrophobia (fear of water), aggression, confusion, excessive saliva production, difficulty swallowing, hallucinations, stupor, and anxiety. Unfortunately, by the time these symptoms appear, it’s often too late. Rabies is an incurable disease, and most animals infected with it face a grim fate, typically succumbing to the illness within 7 to 10 days after symptom onset.

The Risk to Your Pet and You

In the United States, contact with infected wildlife is the primary cause of rabies infections. This presents a significant risk not only to your pets but also to you. While there are post-exposure vaccines for humans, animals are not as fortunate. A pet bitten by a rabid animal is left with limited options: euthanasia or a strict six-month quarantine, during which vaccination may be considered if any signs of rabies infection emerge. To spare your pets and yourself from this ordeal, it is vital to stay current on your animal’s rabies vaccination.

Take Action: Protect Your Pets from Rabies

If your pets are not up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations or if their vaccinations are overdue, we urge you to take action promptly. Ensure the health and safety of your beloved companions by scheduling a wellness visit with Buckeystown Veterinary Hospital. Let’s work together to prevent the spread of rabies and protect our furry friends in Maryland.