From the series, Top Twenty Questions Clients Ask

Rabies is 100% fatal.

Rabies is a viral disease that can be transmitted to animals and humans.  The disease is transmitted mainly by bite, but exposure may also occur through contamination of broken skin or mucous membranes with saliva from an infected animal. Once neurological symptoms of the disease develop, rabies is fatal to both animals and humans.

Children are the main victims.

“Rabies is primarily a disease of children, who are particularly at risk from this terrible disease, due to their close contact with dogs, the major global source”, said Dr. Debbie Briggs, Executive Director of the Alliance for Rabies Control.  “Children are more likely to suffer multiple bites and scratches to the face and head, both of which carry a higher risk of contracting rabies.  Children are often unaware of the danger that dogs transmit rabies and may not tell their parents when a bite, lick, or scratch has occurred from an infected animal”, says Briggs.

Rabies is easy to prevent.

The good news is that rabies is easily preventable.  Rabies prevention starts with the animal owner.  Protect yourself, your pet and your community by taking animals to be vaccinated.  “Vaccination prior to possible exposure is a crucial part of health management of domestic animals, and is the single most important factor in rabies prevention”, said Peter Costa, Global Communications Coordinator for the Alliance for Rabies Control.

Rabies vaccination is the law.

105 CMR 330.000: M.G.L. c. 111, §§ 3, 6 and 7; M.G.L. c. 140 § 145B
“The owner or keeper of a dog or cat six months of age or older shall cause such dog or cat to be vaccinated against rabies. Unvaccinated dogs and cats acquired or moved into the Commonwealth shall be vaccinated within 90 days after acquisition or arrival into the Commonwealth or upon reaching the age of six months, whichever occurs last. Regardless of the age at initial vaccination, a second vaccination shall be given one year later. Subsequent vaccinations should be given according to manufacturer’s guidelines.  No animal hospital, veterinarian’s office or boarding facility shall accept a dog or cat unless the owner or keeper of such animal shall show proof of current vaccination against rabies; provided however, that if such animal has not been so vaccinated or proof is not shown, the animal shall be vaccinated prior to being discharged if the animal’s medical condition permits.”

A great website for parents and kids to learn about rabies.

Definition: Rabies is caused by a virus. A virus is a very tiny germ. You can only see that germ if you have a special microscope.

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