The Silent Killer: Preventing Rabies In Your Dog

Posted on: 22 October 2015


Rabies is an often fatal viral infection that infects mammals and poses a serious health risk to yourself and your cat, dog, or ferret. While not much can be done after rabies is contracted, there are ways to understand risk and prevent the virus from infecting you or your pets in the first place.

How is Rabies Transmitted?

Rabies is a viral infection that wreaks havoc on the nervous system and which can be passed from mammal to mammal.

In the majority of cases, rabies is passed from one animal to another, but it can also be passed from animal to human and even from human to animal. Fortunately, rabies is transmitted through saliva, which means it's fairly easy to determine whether you or your pet may have been infected. The most common form of transmission is through a  bite, but in rare cases, it can be passed when the saliva of an infected mammal comes into contact with an open sore or wound, even if the one who contracts it was not bitten by the infected animal.  

Who Is Most at Risk for Getting Rabies?

It's important to understand that all mammals are at risk of contracting rabies, though some mammals are more at risk than others.

Dogs, cats, and ferrets that are unvaccinated are most at risk for contracting the virus. While there have been a handful of cases of unvaccinated pets surviving a rabies infection, it's very rare and the infection is almost always fatal. Pets that are allowed to roam without supervision are also at risk for rabies, as owners will be unable to prevent interactions with an infected animal.

How Can Rabies Be Avoided and Prevented?

Considering the fatality rate of rabies, it's important to avoid and prevent the infection from occurring.

Vaccinations are an important part in prevention. It's important that your pet receives the rabies vaccination as soon as they're old enough (3 months of age and in dogs, cats, and ferrets) and a booster vaccine every year after. Pets that are free to roam are more likely to contract rabies, so it's important to keep an eye on your pet at all times when they're outdoors. Other preventative measures include securing trash bins, so as to keep raccoons and other mammals who may carry the disease away from your home, and not keeping any wild animals as pets.

To learn more about the rabies virus, risk factors, and how to avoid and prevent your animal from contracting it, consult with your veterinarian immediately. If a bite is suspected, it's important that you bring your pet to the vet immediately for testing and quarantine. 

For professional veterinary care, contact an office such as My Pet's Vet Clinic.