World Rabies Day is the 28th of September. It was created to both inspire activism and raise awareness of the disease.
What is Rabies?
Rabies is a viral disease that infects the central nervous system of humans and animals and causes inflammation of the brain. It can be deadly to animals and humans, so it’s important for pets to be vaccinated.
In Arizona, Maricopa and Pinal County laws require dogs to be vaccinated against the rabies virus. Puppies should receive a rabies vaccine at 16 weeks, and a rabies booster the following year. Once a dog has completed the puppy rabies vaccination series, they should be vaccinated against rabies every three years.
How does it spread?
Typically rabies is spread by other warm-blooded animals infected with the virus. Rabies is most commonly found in bats in Europe, North America, and Australia, and in dogs in Asia and Africa.
From the Arizona Department of Health Services:
In Arizona, the principal rabies hosts are bats, skunks, and foxes. These animals carry their own distinct rabies virus variants or “strains”. When rabies activity within these animal groups increases, rabies can “spillover” into other mammal species, such as bobcats, coyotes, javelina, cats, dogs, horses, cows, etc.
Every year, approximately 30 people are exposed to rabid animals in Arizona. People who are exposed must receive vaccine and anti-rabies serum treatment to prevent infection.
In Arizona, bats present the most common source of rabies exposures to humans because rabid bats often fall to the ground where they are easily accessible to people and pets. Bats are generally not aggressive. Exposure to rabid bats usually occurs when people pick up or handle a sick or dead bat. Other rabies exposures occur when people try to approach or feed wild animals, or in some cases, are attacked by rabid animals such as foxes, bobcats, and skunks. Most rabies exposures can be avoided by simply leaving bats and other wild animals alone.
How can rabies be prevented?
A simple vaccine from your vet will help ensure the health of you and your pet. Dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, and other domestic pets should be vaccinated. Arizona law requires dogs to be vaccinated against rabies and licensed.
Get your pet protected! The Arizona Pet Vet FREE Vaccines for Life program can help keep your pets safe from infectious diseases. Find more information here.
Dogs are special, so why not celebrate National Dog Week by doing something special for your furry buddies? Here are some fun ideas:
1/ Treat your pup to a new toy!
Take them to your favorite pet store, and let them pick out a new toy. If it’s a plush toy, you already know it’s not likely to last long, especially if it has a squeaker. Let your pup go to town on it and make a glorious mess – or consider a different type of toy. Interactive toys have compartments for treats. Your dog will have to work to get the treat, keeping them engaged and occupied for hours at a time.
2/ Get outside together and explore the world!
Cooler weather is finally here! Whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood on a leash or a run at the dog park, make a promise to take your dog out to enjoy the sights, smells and sounds all around you. It’s good for you both!
3/ Treat your dog to a spa day or grooming session.
Baths and grooming can be challenging with dogs because there doesn’t seem to be a happy medium. They either love the attention or hate it with a passion. Professional groomers can not only get your pooch looking and smelling great, they can also help with teeth cleaning, nail clipping and anal gland evacuation (don’t try this at home – it’s icky – trust us).
4/ Have a pet party!
Invite friends and neighbors to bring their dogs over for a pet party. Be sure to have plenty of fresh treats and lots of toys to play with – the dogs are bound to have a blast!
5/ Schedule a health check-up.
While it’s not as fun as play time or treats, it’s important for pups to get regular healthcare and annual shots to protect them from disease, so they should see the vet at least once a year. As your pet gets older, more frequent check-ups can help identify any health changes so that they can be treated and managed before they become serious. After all, you want them around for as long as possible.
Emergency situations can arise at any time, and nobody is immune. This is why it’s so important to have a plan in place for your family and your pets.
Aside from children and the elderly, pets are our most vulnerable family members, and they are completely dependent on us to keep them safe. Over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to look at ways you can prepare for emergencies and natural disasters.
We’ve all seen the heartbreaking images from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. The devastation is unimaginable. Many have also seen the reports of pets left to fend for themselves or lost in the flood waters, which is distressing for everyone. Advance planning can take much of the worry out of disaster preparedness.
Know what disasters could affect your area, which could call for an evacuation and when to shelter in place.
Keep a NOAA Weather Radio tuned to your local emergency station and monitor TV, radio, and follow mobile alert and mobile warnings about severe weather in your area.
Download the FEMA app, receive weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five different locations anywhere in the United States.
Make a Plan
Remember, during a disaster what’s good for you is good for your pet, so get them ready today. If you leave your pets behind, they may be lost, injured – or worse. Never leave a pet chained outdoors. Plan options include:
Create a buddy system in case you’re not home. Ask a trusted neighbor to check on your animals.
Identify shelters. For public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets.
Locate boarding facilities or animal hospitals near your evacuation shelter.
Consider an out-of-town friend or relative
Locate a veterinarian or animal hospital in the area where you may be seeking temporary shelter, in case your pet needs medical care. Add the contact information to your emergency kit.
Have your pet microchipped and make sure that you not only keep your address and phone number up-to-date, but that you also include contact info for an emergency contact outside of your immediate area.
Call your local emergency management office, animal shelter or animal control office to get advice and information.
If you are unable to return to your home right away, you may need to board your pet. Find out where pet boarding facilities are located.
Most boarding kennels, veterinarians and animal shelters will need your pet’s medical records to make sure all vaccinations are current.
If you have no alternative but to leave your pet at home, there are some precautions you must take, but remember that leaving your pet at home alone can place your animal in great danger!
September is Animal Pain Awareness Month, but what does that really mean? We all sincerely believe we’d know if something were wrong with our pets, but the truth is, many of us will miss the signals.
Would you recognize the most common signs of pain in your pet ?
Behavioral and other changes are the ways our animals communicate to us that there is something wrong and they need help. Here’s what you need to watch for:
Common Signs of Pain in Dogs
Decreased social interaction
Refusal to move
Changes in posture
Common Signs of Pain in Cats
Loss of appetite
Quiet/loss of curiosity
Changes in urinary/defecation habits
Hissing or spitting
Lack of agility/jumping
Stops grooming/matted fur
If your pet is exhibiting one or more of these behaviors, it’s best to take them in for a wellness exam. There are many options available to treat pain in animals including: pain medications, physical rehabilitation, acupuncture, laser therapy, and therapeutic massage.Your vet can provide insight into what’s happening, and discuss your treatment options.