Attack of the Zombies!

First a bite. Then nothing, you’re fine. However, unknown to you, that bite acted just like a needle as saliva was injected under your skin. In that saliva … a virus with no cure has begun to invade your muscle as it migrates to your nerves.

photo 2Then a month or so down the road, you’re noticing loss of appetite, subtle changes to your mood, maybe even a fever. But you’re been busy, had a lot going on. So it couldn’t possibly be related to that bite from forever ago, right? WRONG! The virus is still spreading. Spreading to your spinal cord and trying to work its way to your brain. As the virus progresses so do the symptoms: dilated pupils, aggression and irritability, disorientation, muscle tremors, odd cravings for even inedible objects…

photo 1Once it reaches your brain, you are contagious. Now you are shedding the virus through your saliva along with other bodily fluids. Good news: contagious stage only lasts about 10 days. Bad news: the end of 10 days is also the end of you. And a bite isn’t the only way the virus spreads, any little scratch or cut can be the viruses’ access into another host!

Zombies aren’t real, no worries.

But what if that virus wasn’t limited to just people? What if any mammal, maybe even your pet, could spread it? What if it was preventable?

Rabies is real!!!!

Rabies has been reported throughout the world (except Hawaii, Australia and Antarctica) and still threatens the lives of thousands of humans also with millions of animals. Thanks to vaccine research and regulations for our pets, human rabies cases in the U.S. are minimal with multiple exposures, which is amazing when compared with the rest of the world. However, the virus persists in wildlife (bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes) and the only way for us to test for the virus is a sample of brain tissue on a necropsy (or autopsy on a person). We know to stay away from wild animals but if you own a frisky feline or curious canine, they won’t understand the risks and can be the unknown source of human exposure.

It could happen! Are you and your pets protected?

Guest blog contributed by Katy Felner, CVT at Omaha Animal Medical Group

 

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