September 28th is World Rabies Day. This year’s theme is Working Together against Rabies. Worldwide, a person dies every 10 minutes from rabies. Rabies is a virus, transmitted through the bite of an infected animal or exposure to saliva or bat guano. Rabies causes brain swelling, convulsions, respiratory failure and death. The signs of rabies can only be prevented, and there is no treatment for rabies. Each year rabies cost $124 billion dollars worldwide. 20 million dogs a year are euthanized around the world in attempt to control rabies. Unfortunately, this is also a problem here at home. Last year Pennsylvania had over 400 confirmed cases of rabies in animals. Those are cases that are submitted to the state laboratory for testing, and obviously do not include all the cases in the state that go undetected. So far this year, Pennsylvania has over 250 animal cases as of the end of August. Pennsylvania state law requires that cats and dogs over 3 months old be vaccinated for rabies. Any animal bitten by wildlife or an animal with an unknown rabies vaccine should be examined so appropriate booster vaccines can be administered. Luckily, the vaccines are very effective for preventing rabies. If your family pet is not up to date on rabies, please contact us to schedule an appointment, so we can help you keep your pet and family safe.
Dr. Ann Bastian