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Fatal Rabies Disease is Preventable

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Reduce Your Pet's Chance of Infection

Rabies is a serious disease that can cost your pet its life.  Review your pet's vaccinations during every visit with your family veterinarian.  Make sure you are following your doctor's treatment recommendations.  All circumstances are different.  Your veterinarian will guide you with information specific to the area in which you live.  Use these steps to reduce your pet's risk of infection:

  • Vaccinate
  • Encourage others to vaccinate
  • Keep your pet near you when walking
  • Limit your pet's roaming opportunities
  • Report suspected infection immediately

Pets need to be vaccinated to prevent against rabies.  Rabies is a fatal viral zoonosis and veterinarians believe that all mammals are susceptible to it.  This disease puts the public at risk and prevention measures are urged.  Rabies is transmitted through saliva.   It enters the body of person or pet through an opening in the skin, typically a bite wound.  Other openings in the skin, for example, burns, scratches, ulcerations, scrapes and unhealed surgical incisions provide opportunity for the rabies virus to enter your pet's body.

Rabies is a disease that is acute.  It creates progressive inflammation of the brain in an animal that has been infected.  Veterinary research has identified that rabies disease is caused by a lyssavirus and that it is the most important lyssavirus throughout the world.  Wild animals living near your home may be infected with the lyssavirus that causes rabies when pets are bitten.  The likely animals in your area probably include skunks, foxes, bats and raccoons.  You'll want to discuss your pet's yard and neighborhood environment with your veterinarian to ensure your pet's safety.

Prevention recommendations for pets outlined in the Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control, 2011, indicate that "Regardless of the age of the animal at initial vaccination, a booster vaccination should be administered 1 year later."

Prevention measures mean that exposure to humans and animals can be reduced or eliminated by becoming aware about the disease and how it is transmitted.  Prevention also includes eliminating contact with wild animals.  Treatment plans recommended by your pet's veterinarian should be followed and completed.

The Compendium advises, "The virus is usually transmitted from animal to animal through bites. The incubation period is highly variable. In domestic animals, it is generally 3 to 12 weeks but can range from several days to months, rarely exceeding 6 months."  You will want to alert your veterinarian at any time you suspect your pet has been bitten or received saliva from an animal that could be carrying the virus.  The varying incubation period will require that you keep close watch on your pet when exposure is suspected.

"Rabies is rare in vaccinated animals," advises the Compendium.  "Dogs, cats, and ferrets: Rabies virus is excreted in the saliva of infected dogs, cats, and ferrets during illness or for only a few days before illness or death."  The salivary glands are the virus's favorite concentration site.  Damage to muscles that involve swallowing and drinking are severely affected by the virus.

Symptoms of infection with the rabies virus may include:

  • Swallowing difficulty
  • Fever
  • Convulsions
  • Drooling
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of muscle function
  • Low fever
  • Restlessness

The rabies virus and resulting disease is preventable.  Mad Dogs and Meerkats: A History of Resurgent Rabies in South Africa, suggests that this disease kills 55,000 people around the world every year.  "Responding quickly when one is bitten, is critical - if you wait for the symptoms to show it is often too late. Post-exposure treatment saves the lives of around 15 million people around the world every year."  Education and awareness about the virus are urged during World Rabies Day every year. 

Questions to ask your pet's doctor include:

  • Is my pet vaccinated against the rabies virus?
  • How would I know if my pet was infected with the disease?
  • What should I look for if I suspect my pet has been infected?
  • Can my pet receive a vaccination after it has been exposed to the virus?
  • Is vaccination after exposure effective?
  • What is the wait time after exposure?
  • Are there animals known in our neighborhood to be carrying the rabies virus?

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Testimonials

  •           8/29/2017

    I love Balboa Pet Hospital! Balboa Pet Hospital's staff is amazing! The staff is knowledgeable, caring and above all honest! I feel confident that my pets are getting the best possible care there. The staff has always taken time to answer all of my questions and if I think of something after my appointment, I can just email! I know I won’t have to wait too long for response.

    Unfortunately, this year I’ve had to make some really difficult decisions. The compassion the staff showed to both my pet and I made these unbearable times tolerable. I am indebted to both Dr. Del Rosso and (the wonderful) Dr. Ravn for their kindness, compassion and dedication.

    If you are new to the area or just looking for a new vet, please give Balboa pet Hospital a call!

  •           6/5/2017

    LOVE everything about this place!!! The people are all super nice & caring. I never feel like they’re trying to sell me stuff I don’t need. The vets (especially Dr. Alice Chan) are wonderful, I always fee; comfortable coming here whenever Walle has an issue. They even help me file the insurance claims after each visit! Would highly recommended any pet owners to see them for their fur-baby needs.

  •           6/5/2017

    My dog has been a regular patient since 7 years ago. Once in a while we visit other hospitals due to time conflicts. However, we always go back to Balboa Pet Hospital. My dog has bad allergy and the doctors and assistants always follow up with us after the treatments or visits, help us submit the insurance claims. It’s not a cheapest place to go but their patience and caring are irreplaceable.

  •           4/28/2017

    I’m glad to have found Balboa Pet Hospital near my home. It’s definitely a hidden gem! Dr. Chan saw my dog, Oreo, for her skin problem last week, and my three cats, Pepper, Tofu and Cola, today for annual check-up. She’s very patient (especially with Oreo who’s shy to strangers), knowledgeable and approachable. The front staffs are also very friendly and helpful. They are so prompt to reply my email (within a few hours when I checked back my mailbox). All my pets are about 1-year-old and I’ll definitely bring them here for their health issues/checkup in many years followed.

  •           5/4/2017

    Brought my dog here for a checkup and some minor concerns. Dr. Chan was very professional. She got my dog the treatment he needed and answered all my questions regarding my concerns. The rest of the staff were very friendly and gentle with my dog. You could tell that the staff are genuine animal lovers; definitely something you want when you entrust the health of your pet to someone.

  •           5 of 5

    Been bringing our animals to Balboa for over 25 years and will continue because they provide great advice and care. We love Dr. D and staff are really helpful and friendly. Now if I can find medical care for myself like my animals get at Balboa...

  •           5 of 5

    I have been a patron of Balboa Pet Hospital for almost 500 years now (wink). I love Everybody there and feel they are have always been a great resource and the BEST support system for everything pertaining to my pets.

  •          

    The staff is very kind and gentle, the doctors are very caring and patient when dealing with my scared cat Lulu. I appreciate the time they took to put her at ease and making this procedure as painless as possible for the both of us. Will definitely be spreading the word. Thank you Balboa Pet Hospital.
     

    Linda P.

    San Francisco, CA

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