Lisa Chelenza knows that not everyone in your family walks on two legs. For helpful tips on taking care of your animal friends, and advice from local veterinary experts, watch Pet Pointers Wednesday and Saturday on YNN. If you have ideas for Pet Pointers segments, email Lisa at email@example.com.
Pet Pointers: Rabies vaccinations
As responsible pet parents, it’s important to have our pets vaccinated against several diseases, including rabies. In this edition of Pet Pointers, Lisa Chelenza talks about this deadly disease and why it’s so important to keep vaccinations up to date.
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There can be many reasons why some people don’t take rabies vaccinations seriously, leaving our pets unprotected. Most pet parents, especially those in urban areas, think their pet will never be in contact with rabies. But why take chances with an incurable and deadly but totally preventable disease?
While rabies infection has been greatly reduced in the U.S., there are still occasional outbreaks among wild animals, most commonly raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats. All of these animals are found in the suburbs as well as in cities. Your pet could come upon a recently dead animal that is still covered in active virus or an infected animal that is aggressive or dying.
Animals with rabies will act differently than healthy animals. Wild animals may move slowly, act tame and come out into the open during the day when they are normally nocturnal. A domestic pet that is usually friendly may growl and try to bite.
It’s very important to seek medical attention right away if you think you have been exposed to rabies because it is 100 percent fatal in humans if left untreated. Some early symptoms of rabies in humans include fever, headache, sore throat, and feeling tired. As the virus gets to the brain, the person may act nervous, confused, and upset, eventually causing death.
Vaccinations can be given at any time of year. There is a first shot and then a booster one year later. After that, boosters are given every 1-3 years depending on your state and the type of vaccine administered.
Also, teach kids never to approach unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. "Love your own, leave other animals alone" is a good principle for kids to learn.
-changes in an animal’s behavior
-an increase in saliva or drooling
-wild animals that appear abnormally tame or sick
-animals that may bite at everything if excited
-difficulty moving or paralysis