Can Dogs and Cats Get Infected with Rabies?

World Rabies Day, observed every September 28th, serves as a reminder of the deadly threat that continues to claim the lives of thousands of people and animals worldwide. Rabies, a viral infection that attacks the brains and nervous systems of mammals, poses a significant danger. Since it spreads through saliva or bite wounds, both domestic and wild animals, including dogs and cats, remain susceptible to this infection. This article delves into the possibility of dogs and cats contracting rabies and underscores the critical need for preventive measures.

Yes, dogs and cats can indeed contract rabies. These two domesticated animals are among the most frequently affected by the virus. Although rabies is relatively rare in cats and dogs in the United States, it remains prevalent in various parts of the world, particularly in developing nations with limited access to vaccination and animal control programs. The virus typically transmits to pets through the saliva of infected animals, most commonly via bites. Once the virus infiltrates a pet’s body, it rapidly spreads throughout the nervous system, ultimately resulting in death.

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Rabies in Dogs and Cats

The signs and symptoms of rabies in dogs and cats closely mirror those seen in humans. In the initial stages of infection, pets may display mild symptoms like behavioral changes, fever, and a reduced appetite. As the virus advances, more severe symptoms may manifest, including seizures, aggression, paralysis, and difficulty swallowing. In dogs, the “dumb” form of rabies, characterized by lethargy, weakness, and eventual demise, is more common. Conversely, cats often exhibit the “furious” form, marked by hyperactivity, aggression, and disorientation.

Safeguarding Dogs and Cats Against Rabies

Vaccination stands as the most effective method for protecting dogs and cats from rabies. All cats and dogs should receive a rabies vaccine as a fundamental part of their regular vaccination schedule. This not only shields them from the virus but also diminishes the risk of infection in humans. Besides vaccination, pet owners should adopt preventive measures like keeping their pets indoors and avoiding any contact with stray or wild animals. In case another animal bites your pet, seeking immediate veterinary care and reporting the incident to local animal control authorities is imperative.

Rabies represents a grave and often fatal disease that affects both humans and animals. Although occurrences in dogs and cats are rare in the United States, countless pets worldwide succumb to this virus. Hence, taking proactive measures to shield your pets from rabies is of utmost importance. While vaccination remains the primary preventative tool, pet owners must also ensure that their beloved companions steer clear of interactions with stray or wild animals. As we approach World Rabies Day, please act promptly to safeguard your cherished pets by contacting us to schedule a rabies vaccination. Together, we can contribute to the battle against rabies!