Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads from the biting, scratching or saliva contact of an infected animal. It’s found only in mammals. It has the highest mortality rate of any disease standing tall at 99.9%. Rabies affects both humans and animals. This World Rabies Day let’s try to create awareness about this fatal disease from the animal perspective and why it is crucial for pets to be kept safe from it.
Without further ado, let’s find out some important tips about how to keep our pets and pet owners safe from this disease.
1. Keep your pet safe from potential carriers
Rabies is found only in mammals and can be often seen in raccoons, bats, foxes, dogs and cats. The main point about identifying an infected carrier is looking out for his behaviour, which may range from aggressive to docile, frothing and drooling in their mouth to being timid and shy. Exercising caution while our pet is going out for a walk, cats especially roaming around unwatched on railings and windows. All these help act as an initial barrier to even being in contact with a carrier.
2. Timing is crucial
Unfortunately, even after exercising caution, if our adorable friend gets bitten by a rabid animal or if even a pet owner gets bitten, then the first step is to immediately wash the infected area with soap and water and go straight to a hospital to get the post-biting vaccine shot. When provided in time, it almost saves the life of the person or animal, every time. But even a little delay could prove to be fatal. Rabies attacks the central nervous system, the brain and the spinal cord. The clever thing about this disease is it may remain dormant for as long as 3 months after infection and then suddenly symptoms start to show. Once clinical symptoms arise and the vaccine has not been taken timely earlier, there is a very high probability of death. It is extremely important to take note that we are not casual and have wait and watch approach, waiting could prove very costly.
3. Preventive rabies vaccine
It’s almost mandatory for every pet like cat, dog and raccoon to be administered a rabies vaccine and their booster doses. Not only does it keep your pet safe, but it also helps protect pet owners and strangers in case your pet bites or scratches someone.One can easily get their pet vaccinated at a Vet’s clinic or now in some states and cities, the option of home vaccine administration is also present. It’s very important that a timely vaccine is given to your pets such that they don’t become the carriers in future.
Source: Daily Paws
4. Watch out for symptoms
The main point is about monitoring and looking out for symptoms in the infected pet.
If you notice any signs of fever, anxiety, confusion, excessive salivation, insomnia, hyperactivity and troubled breathing, immediately take your pet to the nearest veterinary hospital, there are high chances the virus has reached the brain and has started to affect the nervous system. In such cases, intensive care monitoring under a doctor and recommended medication and vaccination are the sole hope of saving lives at this stage. One ray of hope in such conditions is that if your pet has previously received a rabies vaccine before being bitten or infected, the chances of fatality are less.
5. Some prevention tips
While Rabies prevention is a tricky affair, there are certain precautions that can be taken as a general rule to minimize the chance of infection. Firstly, never try to pet a stray dog or cat. Secondly, Never touch any wild mammal, stay as far as possible, and resist the urge to take selfies with it, however pity it may seem. Finally, if you notice an animal acting strangely, immediately call local pet control or your municipal helpline. There is a high chance the animal is infected and is showing symptoms.
How Can We Contribute?
Rabies is a deadly and fearsome disease, no doubt, 99% of the time without vaccination, it is going to be fatal. The only way to stay protected is proper and timely vaccination of your pets along with the pointers mentioned above. This World Rabies Day, let us pledge and work for creating and spreading awareness about this preventable zoonotic disease. A single step in this direction could pave way for a stronger movement in future. The more awareness, the lesser the casualty. Let us strive to spread awareness via social media posts, campaigns, joining NGO’s, hosting talks on forums and podcasts and finally advertisements. The best point of start for this can be school, where children can learn and protect themselves, as they are the major victims of this.
Some Closing Thoughts:
Rabies is often taken lightly and is considered an underdog in animal infections, while the reality is starkly different. With proper awareness and vaccination, it is a highly treatable and preventable zoonotic disease. The above tips and measures are sure to help keep your adorable cutie friend safe and sound from this disease. World Rabies Day is a great point to debunk some myths about this disease and spread awareness, that it is both preventable and treatable with timely intervention. A significant burden on the healthcare system would ease with awareness and several thousands of lives all over the world per year could be saved. Blessings of all those saved people and their respective families would immensely help us and who knows a better, more prosperous future awaits us.
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