Perhaps you grew up watching movies, such as Old Yeller, of dogs foaming at the mouth and becoming extremely aggressive due to having rabies. Even if you haven’t seen this movie, you have probably heard frightening tales of both people and animals with the disease. As a pet owner, it’s important to have accurate information so you don’t unknowingly place your companion animal in a risky situation. Although this disease is frightening and ultimately fatal, it is also avoidable.
Myths People Continue to Believe About Rabies
The virus that causes rabies is spread when an infected animal, which is usually a wild animal such as a bat or raccoon, bites or scratches your pet. A lot of people believe that their pet doesn’t actually have rabies until the virus reaches the brain. Sadly, this is not true. Your pet has the disease from the moment of contact with another infected animal. In as little as 10 days and as much as two months, the infection travels to his brain and central nervous system. The incubation period of rabies depends on the area of the body where the infected animal made contact with your pet and the depth of the scratch or bite.
Another misconception about rabies is that companion animals can only acquire it when they are bitten by a wild animal. As mentioned above, the disease can be spread with a simple scratch when the claws of the infected animal contain saliva. Additionally, unvaccinated companion animals can spread the disease amongst each other.