Everything You Need To Know About Rabies

Avian, By Species, Cats, Dogs, Emergency Situations, Infectious Diseases

Rabies is an incurable viral disease that affects all mammals, including humans. Rabies is spread through contact with the saliva of infected animals, most commonly from the bite of a rabid animal. Once an animal is exposed to rabies, the virus will replicate in the body traveling from the point of exposure towards the central nervous system and the salivary glands. This process is called the incubation period and although the animal is infected with rabies, it is not showing signs of the disease and is not contagious yet.

The incubation period can last weeks to months; the duration of the incubation period is usually related to the distance between the bite wound and the brain. Once the virus reaches the brain, the incubation period is over, and the animal begins to show signs of disease. At this point, the animal is considered clinically ill as the virus starts causing destruction within the brain and begins changing the animal’s behavior.

Animals infected with rabies can show a wide variety of signs: fever, difficulty walking, fear of water, aggression, confusion, excess saliva production, difficulty swallowing, hallucinations, stupor, and anxiety. However, once an animal is exhibiting these signs, it is far beyond too late. Rabies is incurable, and most animals with it are doomed from the moment they contract the disease. Infected animals typically die within 7 to 10 days after symptoms first appear.

In the United States, exposure to infected wildlife is the primary cause of nearly all rabies infections. Without a vaccine, not only is your pet at risk—so are you. Humans are lucky because scientists have developed vaccines they can administer to people after they have been exposed. Animals, however, have no post-exposure vaccines. A pet that is bitten by a rabid animal is facing either euthanasia or strict quarantine for 6 months during which time the animal may be vaccinated if it shows any signs of rabies infection. You can spare yourself and your pets a great deal of suffering by merely staying current on your animal’s rabies vaccine.

If your pets are not vaccinated, or if their vaccines are overdue, please call CEDARCREST Animal Clinic at 540-943-7577 immediately to schedule a wellness visit.

CEDARCREST Animal Clinic provides medical and surgical care for every stage of your pet's life including preventive wellness care exams and vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care for your dog, cat, avian, or exotic. We are home to the only veterinarian practitioner in Virginia to be double Boarded in Avian and Canine/Feline care and provide care for birds, small mammals, and reptiles of all sorts! Plus, we are home to Virginia's most exclusive dog boarding resort that includes heated floors, an expansive play area, and even webcams so you can watch your pet while you're away. We're located in Fishersville, Virginia, and serve Augusta County and surrounding areas including Waynesboro, Staunton, Harrisonburg, and Charlottesville. 

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