Can Dogs and Cats Contract Rabies?

World Rabies Day is observed every year on September 28th to bring attention to a deadly disease that continues to take the lives of many people and animals around the world. Rabies is a viral infection that affects the brains and nervous systems of mammals. It’s especially concerning because it can be transmitted from animals to humans through saliva or bite wounds. Both domestic and wild animals, including dogs and cats, can be at risk of contracting and spreading this infection. This blog will explore whether dogs and cats can get rabies and why it’s crucial to take preventive measures to keep them safe.

Yes, dogs and cats can get rabies. They are the two domestic animals most frequently affected by the virus. While the disease is rare in cats and dogs in the United States, it is still prevalent in many parts of the world, especially in developing countries with limited access to vaccination and animal control programs. The virus is transmitted to pets through the saliva of infected animals, most commonly through bites. Once the virus enters the pet’s body, it spreads rapidly through the nervous system, eventually leading to death.

Signs and Symptoms of Rabies in Dogs and Cats

Rabies can cause similar signs and symptoms in dogs and cats as it does in humans. In the early stages of the infection, pets might display mild symptoms like changes in behavior, a fever, or a reduced appetite. As the virus advances, more severe symptoms can appear, including seizures, aggression, paralysis, and difficulty swallowing.

In dogs, the more typical form of rabies is called the “dumb” form, where the animal becomes lethargic, weak, and eventually succumbs to the disease. In contrast, cats often exhibit the “furious” form, in which they become hyperactive, aggressive, and confused. These signs are crucial indicators of a potential rabies infection, and if observed, immediate action is necessary to protect both the pet and people who may have been exposed.

Preventing Rabies in Dogs and Cats

The best way to prevent rabies in dogs and cats is vaccination. All cats and dogs should receive a rabies vaccine as part of their routine vaccination schedule. This will offer protection against the virus and reduce the risk of infection in humans. In addition to vaccination, pet owners should take preventive measures such as keeping their pets indoors and avoiding contact with stray or wild animals. If another animal has bitten your pet, seek immediate veterinary care and report the incident to the local animal control authorities.

Rabies is a highly dangerous disease that can have fatal consequences for both humans and animals. Although rabies cases in dogs and cats are rare in the United States, pets around the world still suffer from this virus. That’s why it’s crucial to take proactive steps to safeguard your pets from rabies.

The most effective method to prevent rabies is through vaccination. However, pet owners should also ensure that their pets stay away from stray or wild animals, which could potentially transmit the disease. As World Rabies Day approaches, we encourage you to take action to protect your beloved pets by reaching out to us and scheduling a rabies vaccination. Together, we can play a part in the global effort to combat rabies and keep our pets safe and healthy.