What is Rabies?

Look ma, no foam!

What is Rabies?

Rabies is actually a virus that affects dogs and people and a lot of other types of animals besides dogs. It’s transmitted from animal to animal and then from animal to a person by saliva, so by dog bites or any kinds of injuries, you know, that can happen. You can get the virus. It’s a very, very deadly virus in people. In a person who happens to get infected with the rabies virus it’s deadly. And that’s why it’s so serious and we’ve gone to so much trouble to keep it under control in our pet dogs. We don’t want there to be a chance that our pet dog is going to get a virus that is that deadly to me, that we’re afraid of them and we don’t really want to have a pet dog.

How Dogs Get Rabies

Pets get rabies from interacting with wild animals or with maybe stray animals. There is more rabies exposure or incidents in rural areas. Maybe the dogs aren’t as well vaccinated or something like that. Maybe there are more stray dogs where they’re not kept in yards, things like that. More that certainly have more interaction with wild animals in rural areas. Some wild dogs will have rabies. Bats carry the rabies virus and other things. There are a lot of laws in place that if your dog is exposed to rabies or if a person gets bitten by a dog whether it’s vaccinated or not, the dog has to be quarantined for a certain time period to make sure it doesn’t have rabies.

Rabies Vaccinations

So there are rabies vaccinations and things like that to protect dogs from getting rabies and it’s really at this point in time, it’s so widely used and so well used in the country that there is really very, very little rabies virus infections in people and very little in domesticated dogs and cats at all. It is still out there, so we can’t get complacent about it and say “well, there’s very little of it out there, I don’t need to vaccinate my dog or cat for it.” No, no, no. It’s still out there. We don’t want it to get worse again so keep vaccinating your pets for rabies. Your dogs and your cats need to be vaccinated for rabies. Annually. Every three years. Whatever is recommended.

Because the virus is so deadly, like almost one hundred percent fatality, it’s something that we have come to consider as very serious and we get very fearful of. So it is portrayed in movies as a rabid dog foaming at the mouth and barking and you get very scared of it. And people equate that with rabies; a wild dog barking at your dog, getting bit by a dog with rabies, it’s a very scary thing. Not all barking dogs have rabies. Most of them these days are vaccinated and don’t really have the chance of getting rabies because they are not exposed to wild dogs. There is still a chance. I’ve had experience of cats and dogs getting exposed to bats. This can occur in Austin because there are bats around. The dog’s outside playing with a bat that happened to come into the yard or die in the yard and he’s playing with it and guess what? That’s a huge exposure and if at that point your dog isn’t vaccinated, yeah, that’s trouble.

But hopefully he is. Even if he is, the city and state require a certain quarantine period at that point for your dog. So get your dog vaccinated for rabies. It’s a really bad virus. It doesn’t occur often but we don’t want it to. So have him vaccinated, keep him that way.

For more information about rabies and rabies vaccinations for your dog, call Wells Branch Pet and Bird Clinic at (512) 339-8472.

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