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Rabies is not only a threat to your pet but to you as well. A fatal, viral disease, rabies affects the brain and nerves. The main source of rabies comes from infected wildlife, such as foxes, raccoons, skunks, bats, and coyotes. Usually transmitted through bites from rabid animals, rabies also can be spread through contact with broken skin.

The most common sign of rabies is an unexplained change in behavior. A friendly pet may turn aggressive or act strangely, with no apparent cause. However, a wild animal may act tame and not be afraid when approached by people. It is important to know that once a rabid animal starts to exhibit abnormal behavior, it will continue to do so. It may take two to six months before showing signs, but once it does, it is an irreversible process, and the animal will die in a matter of days. Today, no treatment for rabies exists. Not every animal (including humans) that comes in contact with a rabid animal will contact rabies.

If you think one of your animals may have rabies, be extremely careful and avoid all contact with it. Isolate the pet from other animals and humans and call your veterinarian immediately. The doctor will need to know whether your pet has been vaccinated. By law, you must report this disease in order to protect the public. Notify both your veterinarian and animal control.

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