Skip to content

What Happens When A Pet Gets Rabies?

Rabies is a deadly disease that can affect both humans and animals. Unfortunately, many people are not aware of the dangers of rabies, and they often do not take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their pets. This article will look at some of the things that can happen when a pet gets rabies to help you better understand what could potentially happen. It will also provide information on protecting your pet from this deadly virus.

What Are Rabies?

Rabies

Rabies is a serious virus that attacks the nervous system, causing several severe symptoms. The virus usually spreads through the bite of an infected animal, but it can also transmit through contact with saliva or other body fluids. Fortunately, a vaccine can prevent the disease if you give it before symptoms start to appear. However, once symptoms have developed, rabies is almost always fatal.

As a result, it is essential to be aware of rabies risks and seek medical attention immediately if you think you or your pet may have been exposed to the virus. As scary as it may sound, you should know a few things about what could happen if your pet contracts rabies.

What Happens If My Pet Gets Rabies?

Like many viruses, the effects of rabies will not be the same for every pet. In fact, the only certain thing is that rabies will be deadly if it goes untreated. The virus can cause various symptoms, and the severity will depend on the individual pet. Here are a few to be mindful of:

Anxiety

Rabies

Anxiety is a common symptom of rabies in pets. An animal with the rabies virus begins to experience a range of neurological symptoms, including changes in behavior and increased sensitivity to light and sound. In some cases, anxiety may be the first sign that something is wrong. If your pet suddenly becomes anxious or agitated for no apparent reason, it could be a sign that they have the rabies virus.

If you notice unusual changes in your pet’s behavior, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Some common actions you may notice include pacing, panting, drooling, and restlessness.

Fever

Rabies

One of the hallmark symptoms of rabies is a fever, which can occur in humans and animals. In pets, a rabies-related fever may be one of the first signs that something is wrong. As the disease progresses, other symptoms may develop. The fever caused by rabies typically lasts for several days before eventually subsiding. And while rabies is not the only disease that can cause a fever, it is important to seek medical attention if your pet suddenly develops one.

To check if your pet has a fever, use a rectal thermometer to take their temperature. A normal temperature for a dog or cat is between 100 and 102. If your pet’s temperature exceeds this range, it is a fever.

Aggression

Rabies

In some cases, the rabies virus can also cause aggression and seemingly irrational behavior. This is because the virus attacks the brain, causing swelling and damage to the amygdala responsible for regulating emotions. As a result, animals with rabies may become aggressive, attacking other animals or people without provocation. However, aggression may also cause other emotional issues in pets.

Some animals may even exhibit strange behaviors, such as fearlessness or an unusual tolerance for pain. While rabies is rare in pets in the United States, it is still a serious concern for animal owners, and it is a good idea to monitor your pet’s emotional state for any changes.

Seizures

Rabies

 In pets, the later stages of rabies typically cause seizures, which can be highly distressing to the animal and its owner. There are many reasons why rabies causes seizures in pets. Firstly, the virus attacks the brain and spinal cord, causing inflammation and damage. This can lead to seizure activity as the brain tries to compensate for the damage. Additionally, rabies can also cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, which can also trigger seizure activity.

Finally, the stress of being infected with rabies can also lead to seizures. If you ever notice your pet having a seizure, it is vital to seek medical attention immediately. Although often, when rabies gets to this stage, there is little you can do to save the animal.

Paralysis

Rabies

The virus begins to attack the muscles and nerves in the final stages of rabies. This can lead to paralysis, typically starting in the hind legs and progressing to the front. As the disease worsens, the animal may become unable to move or breathe independently. Some animals may even go into a coma before eventually dying. Sadly, you may not catch the disease until it is too late. Still, if you do notice your pet starting to experience paralysis, the best option is to seek emergency veterinary care.

Taking them to the vet at the beginning of paralysis is important as you can put them on a ventilator to help them breathe. However, even with treatment, the prognosis for animals with rabies is poor, and most will eventually die.

Tips To Prevent Your Pets From Getting Rabies

Rabies

As any pet owner knows, keeping your furry friend healthy and disease-free is a top priority. Unfortunately, rabies is a very real threat to both dogs and cats. And this viral disease can spread easily and quickly. But, while rabies can be deadly, there are steps you can take to protect your pet. The first step is to make sure they are up-to-date on their vaccinations. 

If you live in an area where rabies is common, you should also consider having your pet microchipped. This way, they can be quickly notified and receive treatment if they come into contact with a rabid animal. You should also avoid letting your pet roam free, as this increases their chances of coming into contact with other animals. If you must let them outside, ensure you supervise them at all times.

Finally, if you think your pet has come into contact with a rabid animal, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately. The sooner your pet gets treatment, the better their survival chances.

Be Aware Of What Happens When A Pet Gets Rabies

Rabies is a serious disease that can be deadly for pets and their owners. While there are steps you can take to prevent your pet from getting rabies, it is still important to be aware of the symptoms of the disease. If you think your pet may have been exposed to rabies, seek medical attention immediately. And remember, even with treatment, the prognosis for animals with rabies is poor, so it is important to take steps to prevent your pet from getting the disease in the first place.