Rabies is an acute viral infection that can affect all warm-blooded animals--including dogs and cats. The disease is almost always caused by the bite of an infected animal that has rabies virus in its saliva. Younger animals are usually more susceptible to rabies infection. And it's always fatal once clinical signs appear.
Once the rabies virus enters the body, it travels along the nerves to the brain. It can take a matter of days, weeks or months for your pet to show signs of the rabies virus.
How can I tell if an animal has rabies?
- Infected animals often show anxiety, aggression, restlessness and erratic behavior.
- They also may develop weakness, poor coordination or tremors.
- Wild rabid animals commonly lose their fear of humans.
- Species that are normally nocturnal may be seen wandering about during the day.
Dogs, cats or ferrets that have never been vaccinated and are exposed to a rabid animal may need to be euthanized. Current regulations in Miami County require that if a dog, cat or ferret is bitten by a wild animal that cannot be caught for rabies testing, the pet may need to be euthanized, or, at least, quarantined for six months.
Miami County Combined Health District Rabies Regulations require that all dogs, cats and ferrets be immunized and/or reimmunized by a licensed veterinarian.
Not only is immunization the best protection for your pet, it is the law. We are committed to helping you make the best choices for your pet's health. Be sure that your pet's immunizations are up-to-date and bring them in regularly for check-ups and boosters.