On September 28th, it is World Rabies Day. River Mill Animal Hospital would like to remind pet owners that rabies is a real threat to our beloved family pets. Recently, Hillsborough and Pasco counties have experienced confirmed cases of rabies. As a pet owner you may ask, what precautions should I take? Should I be concerned if my pet is strictly indoors? Our Tampa Bay veterinarian hopes to answer these questions for you in this month’s Tail Wagging Tip for September.
The most important thing to remember is there is no cure for rabies. Rabies is a fatal virus to animals and all mammals including humans, who are susceptible to the disease. Rabies is spread through saliva or blood via a bite. Once bitten, the virus spreads quickly to the nervous system, the brain becomes inflamed and then travels into the nerves and throughout other organs. Treatment for humans and vaccinated pets includes additional vaccinations to help prevent the spread of the virus followed by a 10-day quarantine. Unfortunately, a treatment is not available for unvaccinated pets. The controversy if an indoor only pet is in danger of contracting rabies is one we often hear. The answer is always yes for these three reasons:
1. If your pet bites someone, proof of rabies may save their life. Unvaccinated pets will require up to six months of quarantine at the owner’s expense and possible euthanasia if required by the CDC.
2. Rabies can infect humans and other mammals therefore, everyone in the household is at risk if your pet contracts the virus.
3. All states and counties require all dogs, cats, and ferrets to be vaccinated by law.
Rabies is a reality and it’s important for us, as pet owners, to be responsible about keeping this fatal virus away from our two and four-legged family members. If you’re unsure of your pet’s vaccinations please contact our office today at 813-501-4985 and our staff will be happy to schedule an appointment.