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Rabies: the importance of prevention at any time of the year

Rabies: the importance of prevention at any time of the year

News of rabies has spread in recent months, with the disease affecting some victims in different regions of the country, such as the interior regions of São Paulo, Santa Catarina and Minas Gerais. This shows that it is not necessary to wait for the “mad dog” month, in August, to start or take an interest in prevention, which should begin with pets, according to Cathia Almeida Soares, pet and veterinary technical coordinator at MSD Animal Health.

To warn about the subject, the specialist separated information about this disease, which is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it affects not only domestic animals, but also humans. The expert notes that the most common form of transmission of rabies is through the bite of an infected animal, such as a dog, cat or bat. This virus affects the central nervous system, causing disorders such as behavioral changes and progressive paralysis.

Aggressiveness and excessive salivation are known clinical manifestations, the latter due to difficulty swallowing due to paralysis. Signs usually progress to coma and death. “When a change is noticed in a pet, it is important to take it to a trusted vet so that they can examine the patient and advise appropriate care,” says the vet.

Prevention, in this case, vaccination is always the best way to avoid infection and must therefore be carried out at any time of the year. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccinating 70% of the animals where the disease is present can reduce the incidence of infection in humans to zero.

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Dogs and cats can receive their first dose of rabies vaccine as early as 12 weeks of age, unless otherwise instructed by the manufacturer. Revaccination must be carried out according to the leaflet for the product used, and revaccination is carried out annually according to the biologics available in Brazil. However, Cathia advises that it is essential for the teacher to speak to their trusted vet so that the product used and the protocol implemented can be determined.