It is a common idea amongst our circle that dogs, however lovely they look and behave, are one of the main domestic carriers of the rabies virus.
This is something we should never ignore, not even downplay. Investing in their health and getting them checked regularly will give us a long-term kind of peace of mind. It all starts with vaccination, because this is our best shot (no pun intended!) in assuring ourselves, our family, the community we belong to, and of course, our lovely pets, that it is safe to have fun with our furry pals.
WHAT IS RABIES?
Rabies is a type of disease caused by a virus that is transmitted from animals to humans. The rabies virus can be transmitted when an animal’s saliva enters the person’s body through an open wound. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 99% of human deaths caused by rabies come from domestic dogs.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON SYMPTOMS OF RABIES?
The virus takes 2-8 weeks of incubation period before early signs manifest in your pet. Once your dog shows a sudden change in behavior, specifically if it becomes aggressive, it may be showing early signs of rabies. This could happen even to sweet and friendly dogs. They can easily get irritated, and if not addressed, they will attack and bite out of impulse.
Dogs that are infected by rabies will eventually experience sensitivity to stimuli that they commonly receive like sound, light, and touch. At this stage, they tend to keep themselves in a dark and quiet place while they manifest irate behaviors like chewing and biting unusual objects.
Significant symptoms include weakness due to their loss of appetite and worse, seizures. At worst, dogs may experience some paralysis in their throat, jaw, and legs.
HOW DO DOGS ACQUIRE RABIES?
The most common cause of rabies is when dogs are in close contact with another infected animal, more so when they get bitten by it.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), wild animals such as foxes, raccoons, bats, and skunks are the most common carriers of rabies. However, cats and cattle, aside from dogs, are the most common domestic animals that carry the said virus in the United States.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO PREVENT RABIES?
Absolutely! It has been proven by researchers that rabies can be prevented through vaccination. Aside from it being enacted as a law in many areas of the US, this not only prevents your dog from getting infected. Vaccination also hinders your pet from infecting someone or even another animal.
It is also important to take note that rabies can only be prevented. Your pet could not be cured anymore once the virus penetrates and incubates in its body. Also, be reminded that unvaccinated dogs are most at risk of acquiring the virus.
HOW MUCH IS A RABIES SHOT FOR A DOG?
Currently, there are 2 types of rabies vaccines. You can choose between a 1-year vaccine or a 3-year vaccine. It is important to realize, however, that your dog’s first rabies shot is the 1-year vaccine, followed a year later by the 3-year version if you choose that route.
The American Kennel Club estimates that 1-year rabies vaccination costs around $15 to $20 on average. A 3-year shot usually cost around $35 – $50. Aside from clinics, there are animal shelters that offer anti-rabies shots, and they charge at a minimum cost compared to clinics. The good news is some of them even offer it for free.
As mentioned earlier, prevention through anti-rabies vaccination is a law. This is why you’ll also need to register your vaccinated pet and purchase a rabies tag from your vet. This proves that your dog is a certified rabies-free. Registration and certification may cost from $5 – $75.
Anti-rabies shots are not really expensive: but more than the money we spend, it is more essential to consider that we must do it for our pet’s health. Keeping your pet up to date with vaccination should be one of the most important investments you could do for your lovely pal, and you will not regret it.
This video shows why we vaccinate our dogs, and how the vet carries out the shots: