Ahhh… I remember this day well. It was the first time I made the front page of a big newspaper’s sports section with one of my dogs. This is Goldstar’s Marie Laveau and I. “Marie,” as she was known by her family, is Janie’s Pistol Annie’s Dam. We were taking a short break in between the first and second UKC show that day when the Georgetown, TX Newspaper photographer caught us on film. I loved this picture. I miss that big hearted heifer every day. Memories… sweet memories…
So… What is Rabies? It is a disease caused by the Rabies virus. The Rabies virus affects the central nervous system of humans and other warm-blooded mammals. Human rabies is very rare in the United States, but animal rabies, particularly in some wild animal species, is more common. Rabies infections are almost always fatal once symptoms of the disease have begun.
How do you or your pet get rabies? Rabies is found only in the brain, spinal fluid, and saliva of infected animals. Transmissions of the rabies virus can occur and be passed into the victims body via a bite, a fresh opening in the skin not yet scabbed over, or mucous membrane. You cannot get the rabies virus from being scratched by an infected animal, contact with the blood, urine, feces, dried saliva, or petting hair of the infected animal.
Do you know your state regulations and county regulations regarding Canine Rabies Vaccination requirements? It may pay you to check it out. Even if you do not allow your dog to step foot off out of your yard… if you do not maintain your dog’s vaccine regimen, you are taking a huge risk. My home state is Texas. In my county, dogs are required to have their rabies vaccinations initially at 4 months of age. The next required vaccination is at a year of age. At your dog’s 2nd year birthday, my county allows the option of a three year rabies vaccination. Then of course the next vaccination is required on the dog’s 5th year of age. Think of it this way… the vaccination schedule for rabies that is described includes FOUR rabies vaccinations. Each of those vaccinations alone cost about $14-$18 each … for a high end total of $72 for five years of protection.
Let’s say a vaccinated dog is bitten by a skunk… No harm done really. You watch the dogs for infection at the wound site, etcetera… but that is about it… let’s say $50 for antibiotics to boot… (Now your total is $122). Now… on the flip side… let’s say your UNVACCINATED dog is bitten by a skunk… or kills a skunk. Even if the skunk turns out negative for rabies, you still should submit the skunk to the Local Animal Control as a matter of Public Health. Your Dog needs a rabies vaccination IMMEDIATELY! Meanwhile, it will take 48 agonizing hours to get the test results on that pesky skunk. Your dog will be quarantined while you wait… how long it is quarantined on that pesky skunk. Let’s say you get lucky and it is just a week… That is $210 in estimated boarding costs… and your dog cannot be touched or handled in quarantine… only fed and watered. FYI… the state can quarantine the dog for 45 to 90 days… in a boarding or veterinary facility at an average of $20 per day… that will be $1,800. Oh, and you may be fined for being out of compliance… One more thing… YOU will be required to get YOUR rabies vaccination as well… last I heard, the vaccination for people is $6,000 or so for the total treatment.
Moral of the story is just like you Mama told you… “It pays to spend the money to vaccinate and protect your pet BEFORE a situation occurs.” Call your Veterinarian ASAP to update your dog’s vaccination regime.