What is Rabies?
Rabies is a fatal disease caused by the rabies virus and is transmitted from one warm blooded animal to mammal to another via a bite. For thousands of years there are descriptions and de-pictions of this fatal disease. One of the reasons it is feared is the fact there is no reliable cure for this disease once symptoms start.
Once an animal gets bitten by a rabid animal, the virus eventually enters the nerves and slowly ascends to the central nervous system and eventually the brain. The onset of symptoms varies after exposure. Common symptoms observed classically fall in the furious or paralytic catego-ries. The initial prodromal phase includes anxiety, nervousness, and behavior changes, which typically last a couple of days. With the furious phase aggression and unpredictable behavior is noted, along with incoordination, hyperesthesia, disorientation, muscle tremors, and seizures. In the paralytic phase you will typically note excessive drooling since the animal cannot swal-low, paralysis of either a part of the body. Finally, coma and death and result from respiratory paralysis.
Over the years in the United States the amount of rabies cases has decreased and become a disease predominantly of wildlife. This is in part due to the rabies vaccination requirements in the United States. In California every dog is required to be vaccinated against rabies, and to stay up to date with this vaccine.
Quoting Benjamin Franklin “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” so avoiding con-tact with unfamiliar animals, especially wildlife, is very important. In California the two most common reservoirs for this disease are bats and skunks, but in other parts of the country foxes and raccoons are also common reservoirs. With bats being a reservoir of this fatal disease, be aware that bats can also come inside our home and put our pets at risk. If you do get bitten by please report the bite to the local health department or animal control agency, wash the wound with soap and water, and contact your healthcare provider.
Stevenson Ranch Veterinary Center is located at 25832 Hemingway Ave. Santa Clarita, CA 91381. For more information please call (661) 799-0655 or visit our website at www.srvc.com.
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