World Rabies Day is September 28th. In honor of this day, we wanted to inform our clients about this fatal virus and the importance of vaccination!
WHAT IS RABIES?
Rabies is a virus that affects any warm blooded animal and humans. The virus is transmitted through saliva via a wound or bite and mucous membranes (gums). The virus replicates in the tissues local to the wound then starts to replicate and travel up the nerves towards the spinal cord to the brain. The virus can be found in the salivary glands where it is shed during a bite or wound. The virus can be shed for up to two weeks before clinical signs are apparent in an animal. Rabies virus is fatal; death ensues within 10 days of clinical signs.
WHAT ARE THE CLINICAL SIGNS OF RABIES?
There are three stages of rabies therefore the clinical signs can be variable.
Prodromal Form: Behavior changes occur including anxiety, solitude or unease. A fever can occur in these patients. This stage lasts for 2-3 days. The site of exposure may be itchy during this stage.
Paralytic (Dumb) Form: Most canines present in this form and some cats can present this way. Signs include lethargy, difficulty swallowing, hypersalivation, changes in their voice or bark, dropped jaw, and paralysis of the affected limb. This stage can last 1-7 days and ends when patient dies.
Furious Form: Majority of cats present in this form and some dogs can present in this stage. Signs include aggression, biting, altered voice or bark, seizures, paralysis, and a drunken gait/stance. Pets may be oversensitive to sounds and touch and this stage can last 2-4 days ending in death.
HOW DO I PREVENT RABIES?
The vaccine is extremely effective in preventing rabies. All dogs and cats should be vaccinated for rabies at or after 12 weeks of age and again at 1 year of age. After a year of age, there is a 1 year or 3 year vaccine available for cats and dogs.
There is a rabies vaccine available for horses and it is recommended to vaccinate them once yearly. Foals who have never been vaccinated for rabies should be vaccinated for the first time and the vaccine should be boostered 4-6 weeks after the initial vaccine to ensure there is adequate immunity. After the series, they should be vaccinated yearly.
Pets should be kept from roaming in order to decrease the chance they will be exposed to rabid animals.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU OR YOUR PET IS BITTEN BY A SUSPICOUS ANIMAL?
Alabama public health laws require a 10-day quarantine for observation of owned, vaccinated pets after they have bitten another animal or a human. Often times, this quarantine period is at a veterinary office where the pet is monitored for behavior or neurologic changes.
Pets who are NOT vaccinated for rabies and have been exposed to a known rabid animal or to any bat or wild, carnivorous animal are a placed in a 6 month quarantine and they are monitored for development of clinical signs.
Pets who ARE vaccinated for rabies and have been exposed to a known rabid animal or to any bat or wild, carnivorous animal are immediately revaccinated for rabies and them monitored for 45 days after the bite.
Wild animals or bats that have bitten an animal or human are immediately euthanized and samples are sent to the state lab for testing to determine if the animal was rabid.
Each case is different and requires communication between you, your Veterinarian and the local County Health Department. If you or your pet is bitten by another dog, cat, or a wild animal, seek medical attention immediately and call your local County Health Department or Veterinarian to determine what next steps are necessary to ensure you and your pet remain healthy.
In 2018, there have been at least 8 cases of rabies diagnosed in the State of Alabama. A simple vaccine can protect your animals. Bring your pets by the office today to get their rabies vaccine updated!
Clay Hill Animal Clinic is small town veterinary practice that strives to deliver cutting edge veterinary care in a down-home, relaxed environment. Clay Hill Animal Clinic currently employs the expertise and efforts of three full-time Veterinarians, 1 part-time Veterinarian, two licensed veterinary technicians, and ten other veterinary assistants and staff to ensure that your pets and livestock are properly and efficiently cared for and treated. The animals of Butler County and the surrounding area have been cared for by Clay Hill Animal Clinic and the former Watson Animal Clinic for nearly 40 years on a walk in basis. We will never turn away walk-in business, but in an attempt to keep prices low and efficiency high we are asking our clients to call and make appointments whenever possible. This will ensure that you are seen in a timely manner and that you will see the Veterinarian of your choice. We look forward to seeing you very soon for all of your veterinary care needs.
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HOURS OF OPERATION:
Monday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday 8:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m.
Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.