Rabies has become less and less prevalent these days. Despite the decline in its cases, it doesn’t mean that the virus has become less serious and deadly. In fact, it still continues to kill both domesticated and stray animals. One good reason is the lack of prevention and the right information.
Myths vs FactsAs a guide, here are some of the most common rabies myths and facts you should know as a responsible dog owner.
Myth:All dogs have rabies.
Fact:Dogs that have not been exposed to other mammals that have the virus are relatively free from rabies. However, this doesn’t mean that dogs who are domesticated can’t spread the virus. Once infected, they can also transmit rabies, particularly if they are not vaccinated.
Myth:A dog that bites is a rabid dog.
Fact:Although aggression is one of the signs of rabies, not all dogs that bite are rabid.
It’s common for them to bite whenever they feel threatened, anxious or hurt. It’s their instinct to protect themselves and their territory. Rabid dogs, meanwhile, will bite any person even without any reason.
Myth:Your dog can only get rabies from other dogs.
Fact:A large percent of reported cases of rabies involve stray animals. Although dogs are the most popular animals to be infected, your pet can still get rabies from cats, cattle and raccoons. In some cases, bats can also carry the virus.
And it doesn’t have to involve getting bitten. Rabies can be transmitted through open wounds and mucus membranes by saliva transmission. Take, for example, getting scratched by an infected animal.
Myth:Foaming in the mouth is the only symptom you’ll see in a rabid dog.
Fact:Foaming in the mouth typically appears in the late stages of rabies. Before this, your dog can show behavioral changes, such as being restless and apprehensive. It can snap even at the faintest stimulus it encounters. Aside from this, your dog can also show signs of disinterest in food and water. It can also be hypersensitive to light, sound and even your touch.
Myth:Immunization against rabies offers a lifetime protection.
Fact:Rabies vaccines typically have due dates. This is your indication to schedule your dog for another dose of the vaccine.
By immunizing your dog, you’ll be stimulating its body to produce antibodies that can prevent the spread of rabies. As you reach the due date of the vaccine, these antibodies start to decline. This means that your dog gets less and less protected against rabies.
Myth:A rabies vaccine can treat infected animals.
Fact:Rabies vaccines stimulate antibody production in your dog as a way to prevent the spread of the virus. It will not be able to kill the virus in the presence of an existing infection.
Unfortunately, there is no known treatment for rabies. Dogs and affected animals are expected to die days after their exposure. Although there are cases of survival from the virus through aggressive management, they are actually very rare.