Rabies is a Threat to both People and Their Dogs
It is that time of year when we enjoy warmer weather and longer days, unfortunately we are not the only ones that thrive in these conditions. It is also the beginning of prime flea and tick infestations and sadly rabies. These can be year round issues, however, incidences occur in the highest numbers between June and September. It is paramount to keep a close eye on your dog and other animals such as raccoons, foxes, bats, skunks and coyotes looking for erratic and unusual behaviors.
If you notice an outside animal presenting erratic behavior, keep your pets inside and contact animal control. An example is that of a bat flying low and alighting on a human or animal during daylight hours or oddly friendly coyotes, foxes, etc. Rabies does not always present with aggressive type behaviors.
PLEASE NOTE: Rabies is contagious and fatal to humans as well as pets. It requires a series of highly painful injections to the abdomen for treatment. If you suspect a “wild” animal has rabies, leave it alone, bring all pets inside and call your local animal control or 911.
But you may not see the carrier or know that your dog has been bitten. This is why you need to be wary if you see sudden behavioral changes in your pet. Rabies can present with changes such as unusual friendliness or boldness, aggressive or touchiness, sudden lack of in gain in appetite, and/or limping/unexplained painfulness. Though it may not be rabies, these symptoms would validate an immediate trip to the vet anyway.
As for ticks and fleas you need to inspect your dog on a regular basis to ensure your dog does not become infested. Even with tick products on your pets, ticks can still be carried by your pet to you before being repelled by the medication. Lymes disease is not transmitted instantly though you do want to remove them as soon as possible from you and your pets. With a pair of tweezers you want to grab the tick firmly by the head and twist carefully in a counter clockwise direction, drop into a jar with rubbing alcohol, seal the jar and dispose of it.
And of course, prevention is worth a pound of cure. In order to minimize your dog’s chances of hosting ticks and fleas you need to keep lawns mowed and keep your dog out of tail vegetation in areas prone to fleas and ticks. Always check your dog, especially coated dogs, for hitch hikers after each walk or exposure to areas with tall grass and vegetation. Fleas are harder to fight as they love your indoor carpets and can live quite contently inside. We prefer chemical free methods of controlling fleas and ticks. We have a recipe for a holistic flea powder here- let us know if it works, or if you use something else!
Have a happy, healthy summer, and remember to do your agility!
For more information regarding rabies, and flea and tick-borne illnesses, check cdc.gov.