Pet Awareness - June

June Is Rabies Awareness Month

Pet First Healthcare Insurance

PetFirst Healthcare was founded to help keep people from having to consider their finances when taking care of their pets. Our pets are family to us which is why we developed affordable pet insurance policies designed to help you use your heart first when taking care of your pet.

When money is tight, do you know how you will be paying for your veterinary bills? Building a plan for your expenses – including your pet’s healthcare – is the smart thing to do. Pet insurance is the best way to budget for unexpected veterinary bills and help to cover day-to-day expenses like vaccinations and office visits as well.

Q: What is rabies?

A: Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. The virus is secreted in saliva and is usually transmitted to people and animals by a bite from an infected animal. Less commonly, rabies can be transmitted when saliva from a rabid animal comes in contact with an open cut on the skin or the eyes, nose, or mouth of a person or animal. Once the outward signs of the disease appear, rabies is nearly always fatal.

Q: What animals can get rabies?

A: Only mammals can get rabies; birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians do not. Most cases of rabies occur in wild animals-mainly skunks, raccoons, bats, coyotes, and foxes. In recent years, cats have become the most common domestic animal infected with rabies. This is because many cat owners do not vaccinate their cats before the cats are exposed to rabid wildlife outdoors. Rabies also occurs in dogs and cattle in significant numbers and, while not as common, has been diagnosed in horses, goats, sheep, swine and ferrets.

Q: What are the signs of rabies in animals?

A: Once the rabies virus enters the body, it travels along the nerves to the brain. Dogs, cats, and ferrets with rabies may show a variety of signs, including fearfulness, aggression, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing, staggering, and seizures. Rabid wild animals may only display unusual behavior; for example, an animal that is usually only seen at night may be seen wandering in the daytime. In addition to those signs seen in dogs and cats, horses, cattle, sheep, and goats with rabies may exhibit depression, self mutilation, or increased sensitivity to light.

Q: How great is the risk of rabies to humans?

A: Rabies vaccination and animal control programs, along with better treatment for people who have been bitten, have dramatically reduced the number of human cases of rabies in the United States. Most of the relatively few, recent human cases in this country have resulted from exposures to bats. A few rabies cases have resulted from corneal or organ/tissue transplants from an infected donor, but these have been extremely rare. Dogs are still a significant source of rabies in other countries, so travelers should be aware of this risk when traveling outside of the United States.

Q: How often do I need to get a rabies shot for my pets?

A: The first vaccination should be given at 14 - 16 weeks of age. The next vaccination should be 1yr. from the first vaccination. Here you can go with the 1yr. or 3yr. depending on the laws in your state.

Source: -American Veterinary Medical Association-

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