What Is Rabies?
Rabies is one of the most devastating viral diseases affecting mammals, including dogs, cats and humans. It’s usually transmitted by the bite of an infected animal, such as raccoons, bats, foxes and skunks.
The state of Texas requires that you vaccinate for rabies. Dogs and cats must be:
- Vaccinated against rabies by 4 months of age, and
- Receive a booster 1 year following the initial vaccination.
From that point, pets can get boosters at 1-year or 3-year intervals depending on what type of vaccine is used. Local ordinances can also require that the vaccination is received annually regardless of the type of vaccine.
There are two types of rabies: furious and paralytic. Both manifest early on with dramatic behavioral shifts. Your pet might seem more aggressive, anxious, or even more friendly than normal.
After the first stage, animals can either demonstrate extreme irritability, restlessness, and aggressiveness, or become paralyzed in the head and throat area, resulting in mouth hanging agape, uncontrollable drooling, and an inability to swallow.
There is currently no cure for rabies, which is almost always fatal. Once clinical signs occur, an infected animal usually dies within five days.
Prevention and Treatment
There is no treatment for dogs or cats with rabies.
Vaccinating against rabies is a safe, easy way to prevent the fatal disease, required by law in the state of Texas.
- Hawaii is the only rabies-free state in the United States
- On average two people and 400 – 500 pets contract rabies in the US anually
- The disease affects the central nervous system, resulting in the symptoms of abnormal behavior and paralysis
- An infected animal can only transmit the disease after displaying symptoms of the disease
- A positive rabies identification can only be made on a dead animal, by inspecting the brain tissue