Are Dogs and Cats Able to Contract Rabies?

World Rabies Day occurs every year on September 28th, aiming to heighten awareness regarding a lethal ailment that continues to take the lives of numerous individuals and animals on a global scale. Rabies, a viral infection impacting the brains and nervous systems of mammals, poses a significant threat. Given its status as a zoonotic disease, transmission primarily occurs through saliva or bite injuries, leaving both domestic and wild animals, such as dogs and cats, susceptible to the infection. This blog will delve into the question of whether dogs and cats can contract rabies and underscore the crucial role of preventive measures in safeguarding their well-being.

Yes, dogs and cats can get rabies. They are the two domestic animals most frequently affected by the virus. While the disease is rare in cats and dogs in the United States, it is still prevalent in many parts of the world, especially in developing countries with limited access to vaccination and animal control programs. The virus is transmitted to pets through the saliva of infected animals, most commonly through bites. Once the virus enters the pet’s body, it spreads rapidly through the nervous system, eventually leading to death.

Signs and Symptoms of Rabies in Dogs and Cats

Rabies in dogs and cats share similar signs and symptoms with humans. In the early stages, pets may display mild indications like altered behavior, fever, and reduced appetite. As the infection advances, more severe symptoms such as seizures, aggression, paralysis, and swallowing difficulties can emerge. In dogs, the predominant form is the “dumb” rabies, characterized by lethargy, weakness, and eventual fatality. In cats, the “furious” rabies is more prevalent, leading to hyperactivity, aggression, and disorientation in the animal.

Preventing Rabies in Dogs and Cats

The best way to prevent rabies in dogs and cats is vaccination. All cats and dogs should receive a rabies vaccine as part of their routine vaccination schedule. This will offer protection against the virus and reduce the risk of infection in humans. In addition to vaccination, pet owners should take preventive measures such as keeping their pets indoors and avoiding contact with stray or wild animals. If another animal has bitten your pet, seek immediate veterinary care and report the incident to the local animal control authorities.

Rabies is a serious and frequently deadly illness that can impact both humans and animals. Although cases of rabies are infrequent among dogs and cats in the United States, pets around the globe still succumb to this virus. Consequently, it is crucial to implement preventative measures to safeguard your pets from rabies. The most successful method for prevention is vaccination, but it’s also important for pet owners to ensure their animals avoid contact with stray or wild creatures. With World Rabies Day approaching, we encourage you to take steps to safeguard your cherished pets by reaching out to us to schedule a rabies vaccination. Together, we can contribute to the fight against rabies!