Understanding Rabies And Your Pet

Understanding Rabies And Your Pet

On September 28, we recognize World Rabies Day which looks to bring further awareness to the deadly rabies disease which is caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. This virus is secreted in saliva and typically transmitted to people and animals through the bite of an infected animal. Another less common way for rabies to be transmitted is when saliva from an infected animal comes in contact with an open cut on the skin, eyes, mouth, or nose of a person or animals. It is very important to understand what rabies is and how it can affect you and your pet.

Which Animals Actually Get Rabies

One of the first things to keep in mind is that only mammals can get rabies, so birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians cannot. Here in the United States, most of the rabies cases occur with wild animals like skunks, raccoons, bats, foxes, etc. Recently, however, cats have become the most common domestic animals infected with rabies. The reason for this is that many cat owners do not vaccinate their pets and then they are exposed to rabid wildlife either outdoors or indoors in the event a bat enters the house. Rabies can also occur in dogs in significant numbers and while it may not be as common, horses, goats, sheep, swine, and ferrets can also be diagnosed with rabies.

What Are The Common Signs of Rabies in Animals?

So, what are the common signs an animal may be infected with rabies? Once the virus enters the body, it travels along the nerves up to the brain. At that point, a variety of signs will show that indicate the presence of rabies such as fearfulness, aggression, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing, paralysis, and seizures. Aggressive behavior is one of the more common signs, however, rabid animals may also become uncharacteristically affectionate. Horses and livestock who have been infected with rabies may also display depression, self-mutilation, or an increased sensitivity to light. You may also notice rabid animals losing their natural fear of humans and display unusual behavior, like wandering in the daytime when they are typically seen exclusively at night.

How To Help Control Rabies

If you are interested in how to control rabies, keep in mind that one of the main things you can do to prevent it is through vaccination. You should also reduce the possibility of exposure to rabies by making sure your pets do not roam freely. Either keep them inside or make sure they are supervised when outside. Another tip is to not leave exposed garbage or pet food outside as that can attract wild or stray animals. In regards to wild animals, if you have to see one that appears to be acting strangely, be sure to report it to the city or county animal control department. Also, be sure to bat-proof your home and any other structure to prevent bats from getting in and nesting. Bats have been known to be one of the main carriers of rabies in North America.

If you have any additional questions or concerns as it pertains to rabies and your pet, feel free to give Cherrelyn Animal Hospital today at (303) 532-1258!

How To Keep Your Pets Safe from Wildlife

How To Keep Pets Safe From Wildlife

Wildlife and pets don’t mix well most of the time and it is up to you as the owner to keep your pet safe in the event they encounter a wild animal. Now, due to the fact that this does not happen as often, it can be difficult to foresee these types of issues. However, with the spring and summer months approaching, you can expect more and more wild animals to be out and about, making their way into backyards. Therefore, it is critical to be aware of the potential dangers your pet might face.

Depending on where you live, you might deal with different threats to the safety of your pet. Some common animals that you will want to keep an eye out for are, especially in the Colorado area include: coyotes, deer, and moose. Coyotes can be particularly dangerous as they are a rabies reservoir species which means an attack from them can put your pet at risk for rabies.

As it pertains to pet safety around wild animals, you would most likely deal with two scenarios which are home safety and walking safety. So, let’s take a look at how you can keep your pet safe in both scenarios.

Home Safety

One of the main draws for wild animals is food. So one of the easiest things you can do to keep your pet safe is to make sure there is no trash in your yard and avoid leaving food outdoors. Also, if you have noticed a lot of rodents in your home or outside near your home, you will want to take care of the problem immediately, because they can lure in snakes and other predators to your yard. Now, while you may consider your yard as a safe place, it is important that keep eyes on your pet as they are outside, especially at dusk and dawn. It is during these times that wild animals can find their ways into fenced yards and cause trouble.

Another factor that can draw in wild animals is pet waste, so, be sure to regularly clean your yard for animal waste to prevent any wildlife from wandering into your yard.

Walking Safety

Now, when you are walking your pet, make sure you keep them on a leash and near you at all times. By allowing them to roam, it puts them at risk for animal attacks, especially in a wooded area. In the event a wild animal does approach you, avoid running away from the animal. Simply face them and slowly back away. You can also try to keep the animal from approaching by making a lot of noise and make yourself appear as big as possible. Stomping your feet, throwing rocks, and shouting are all methods that can help. Finally, never approach a wild animal if you see one. Instead, try to leave a path for them to escape while staying as far away as possible.

Cherrelyn Animal Hospital is available if you have additional questions about protecting your pet from wildlife. Also, if your pet has been involved in an attack with a wild animal, give us a call at (303) 532-1258!

How to Interpret Common Dog Behaviors

How To Interpret Common Dog Behaviors

The way your dog acts and reacts to certain things can be a clear indicator of their mood. While you may not because to speak the native canine tongue, it is still very important to be able to interpret dog behavior. For example, why is your dog licking certain textures or circling the same spot in front of you? There could be reasons within a dog’s state of mind or even health concerns that may cause them to do certain things and by learning how to understand their behaviors, you will be able to help them better. So, let’s take a look at some common dog behaviors and understand what could be behind them.

Bad Breath

As it pertains to bad breath, dogs are not known for having the best smelling breath, however, if you notice a specific change, you might want to take a trip to your veterinarian as it could be linked to their oral health. A change in your dog’s breath could be a cause for concern as it pertains to their gastrointestinal tract, liver, or, kidneys as well. For example, if their breath smells like urine, they could be having a kidney problem. If they start exhibiting sweet-smelling breath, it could be a sign to vets that they have diabetes. This is particularly true if they are drinking more water and urinating more often. So, while this may not directly link to their mood, it is still something that you should pay attention to and let your veterinarian know if any sudden changes occur.

Circling

When a dog cannot stop walking in circles, it could mean they have health issues. While it is fun for them to chase their tail if they cannot stop the compulsion, there might be a deeper problem beneath the surface, for example, it could be linked to an ear infection. Other reasons include idiopathic vestibular syndrome which is common in older dogs as well as poisoning or even a brain tumor. However, only your vet will be able to determine the exact cause of your dog’s circling, so if things become a problem, bring them in for a check-up.

Biting

Puppies, in the beginning, may nip at you as they are learning to communicate with their pet parents and this will usually happen while playing. This is because young dogs tend to communicate with their mouths when they interact. However, if your pup begins nipping regularly, you should look to stop it early as it can develop into a problematic behavior down the line. Dogs usually bite out of anxiety, fear, or aggression. If you are struggling to determine the cause or teaching them not to do so, you might want to consider working with a trainer.

Panting

Dogs usually expel their body heat from their mouths. So, when your dog begins to pant, it’s likely that they are too warm and are regulating their body temperature. Be sure to pay attention to this behavior as it could also be linked to pain. The best way to help is to ensure that they are well hydrated before any physical activity, especially during the warmer months.  

Regardless of the behavior your dog is exhibiting, if you feel that it could be linked to something related to their health, be sure to bring them into your veterinarian. At Cherrelyn Animal Hospital, we will be more than happy to take a look and give you the tips you need to keep your pup on the right track. Give us a call today at (303) 532-1258!