Vaccinations Key to Protecting Pets From Rabies

By: Meredith Stancik Email
By: Meredith Stancik Email

Cases of rabies have doubled in Brazos County since this time last year.

The sharp increase has pet owners on high alert and veterinarians are urging their clients to keep up with their pets vaccinations.

Duck season may be months away, but Justin Girard is getting his dog Scout ready for opening day.

"I got him for hunting and I've been training him myself ever since," Girard said.

The pair comes out to Research Park once a week. Scout enjoys the water, while Justin can breathe a little easier.

"We want to keep our dogs safe out here, and that's one reason that we come out to this place is to keep it safe," Girard said.

With rabies cases on the rise, pet owners are taking more precautions while veterinarians are staying busy.

At Briarcrest Veterinary Clinic, Spring has definitely sprung.

"We have seen several cases of dogs that have been sprayed by skunks and that always concerns us," Dr. Mark W. Fuller with Briarcrest Veterinary Clinic said.

So far the clinic hasn't treated any dogs for rabies and vaccinations are the reason why.

According to state law, dogs and cats must be vaccinated against rabies by four months and on a one year or three year basis depending on the type of vaccine used.

Plus, all dogs and cats must receive a second rabies vaccination within one year of receiving their first.

The vaccine blocks rabies, which is a virus that spreads through saliva and can be fatal.

"Once a pet gets it, it can be transmitted to humans," Fuller said.

That's why pet owners like Justin, are being careful.

"I keep him well vaccinated throughout the year for rabies, and if I find something I get it checked right away," Fuller said.

If your pet is exposed to a rabid animal you should contact your local animal control agency immediately.

Most likely, if your pet is already vaccinated, it would receive the vaccine again and then be isolated for up to 45 days.

Again, vaccination is the key to keeping your pet safe.

Also, pet owners are advised to watch for wild animals that normally carry rabies like raccoons, coyotes, skunks and bats for any unusual behavior.

Here's a list of warning signs of rabid animals:

They include normally nocturnal animals out during daylight hours, animals exhibiting paralysis or difficulty moving, a change in eating habits or pawing at the mouth, and difficulty swallowing or chewing at a wound.

For more information about rabies and Texas law regarding the disease, click on the link below.

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