Hello, my name is Catherine. I have long loved animals and have had several of my own over the years. Sadly, I saw two of my cats suffer with feline cancer, one of my dogs had arthritis, and, of course, we faced the usual calamities and injuries pets often face. However, I have had to navigate this on a relatively restricted budget, and through the years, I have gotten quite proficient at that. I work at a library and love doing research on pets and veterinary care as well as a range of other topics. I also love to write so decided to put my info in a blog. Please, explore and enjoy!
Although rabies is not endemic in Australia, it is carried by some species of bats found in Queensland and is present elsewhere around the world. The rabies virus can be prevented by having your dog vaccinated, which is essential if you are planning on travelling with your pet to a part of the world where the disease is known to be present. Read on to find out why having your pet vaccinated against rabies is so important.
What is rabies?
Rabies is a disease caused by the polioencephalitis virus. This fatal disease is passed from infected wild animals to domestic pets and also to people through bites, scratches or via the transfer of saliva, for example from a pet licking an area of broken skin on its owner.
Once the virus enters an animal's body, it spreads through the cells to the nerves, eventually affecting the victim's sensory capacity and mobility. There are two forms of rabies (furious and paralytic). Affected dogs have one or the other form or sometimes suffer a combination of the two.
Dogs with furious rabies show violent behavioural changes, such as increased aggression, even attacking their owners. Those with paralytic rabies are weakened and lose coordination, eventually becoming paralysed.
Symptoms of rabies
Even if your dog is vaccinated against rabies, it's important that you consult your nearest vet if your pet is scratched, bitten or has contact with an animal you suspect could be infected.
Animals affected by rabies may display all or some of the following symptoms:
What to do if you think your dog has rabies
If you have been in a part of the world where rabies is present and you fear that your dog may have been exposed to the virus, contact your vet immediately. If your pet is placid and controllable without the risk of you or anyone else being bitten, take him to the vet for immediate quarantine.
Rabies generally manifests itself within 7 to 10 days and your dog will be kept quarantined and monitored for this time. Blood tests are not generally taken for diagnostic purposes; it's just a waiting game.
Sadly, if your dog does have rabies, there is no treatment or cure, and your vet will have no option but to put your pet to sleep.
If you are planning on travelling with your dog to a part of the world where rabies is known to be present, you must have him vaccinated first; this is the only way to keep your pet safe from this fatal virus. Contact your vet for more information about vaccination, well in advance of your planned trip.