September 28th is World Rabies Day, which we observe to highlight awareness of this disease and to talk about how important it is to get your pet vaccinated.
Rabies is an RNA virus of the rhabdovirus family and is a viral infection that is spread mainly from the bite of an infected animal. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system and is 100 percent fatal to dogs and cats—there is no treatment available.
Common carriers of this feared disease include bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes. The risk of rabies runs very high in dogs, however cats, even indoor ones, should be vaccinated—bats can get into a home and pose a threat to our indoor pets.
Fortunately, there is a vaccine available to help prevent this deadly disease. For dogs, it can be administered in one dose as early as three months of age, either with a one-year or a three-year vaccine, and annual boosters are required. For cats, it can be administered as a single dose as early as eight weeks of age, with a revaccination one year later. The booster is required annually or every three years, depending on the vaccine used.
Prevention of this disease is not only extremely important for pets and pet owners, it is a legal requirement! We encourage you to ask any questions you may have about rabies—for more information, please contact us at 631-887-3501.