September 28th is World Rabies Day. Time to ask yourself, “How much do I really know about rabies?” Of course, we know our veterinarians instruct us to vaccinate our pets yearly, but do we really know why?
Rabies is a virus that affects the central nervous system. It can cause disease in the brain, which can ultimately result in death. Rabies is most often transmitted through direct contact with the saliva of an infected animal, typically through broken skin. This is why animal bites are taken so seriously, and why it is important to seek the corect medical care in a situation where you’re bitten by an animal that potantially contains the rabies virus.
It is extremely important to be sure your pets are up to date with their rabies vaccine, as it is required by law in some states (Wisconsin being one of them). There are various types of vaccines; some are good for one year, some for three years, some that specifically aim at dogs, and some for cats. As a puppy or kitten, your pet will receive their first rabies vaccine at 16 weeks, followed up one year later with another. At that point, you can decide whether you would like to stay on an annual vaccination routine, or switch to every three years, depending on what your veterinary clinic offers.
If you’re looking for more information on the rabies virus and how to prevent it, there are multiple useful websites on the internet. You’re also always welcome to call our clinic with any concerns you may have. We’ll always do our best to make things easier for you and your pet!