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ARE RABIES VACCINES REALLY NECESSARY?

Every year, when you take FIDO  to the veterinarian for a rabies vaccination do you wonder if it’s really necessary?  While you may not  know a single person or pet who has been infected, the statistics say it’s a real threat.

Worldwide, more than 55,000 people die of rabies every year and nearly 40% of those who are bitten by rabid animals are children under 15 years of age. The good news is that the vaccine is 100% effective. This simple shot ensures the safety of FIDO, and prevents the spread of the disease to other pets, wild animals and people - including young children.

According to Dr. Bernadine Cruz, a Veterinarian with the American Veterinary Medical Association, the prevalence of infection in Cats has increased, "Rabies. Just the word conjures visions of Cujo, the Stephen King rabid St. Bernard, and death and denial. Though the prevalence of rabies in the United States in domestic pets has decreased dramatically over the past several decades, in part due to an aggressive vaccination program for dogs, the number of reported cases in cats has increased.  Cats are not more susceptible to rabies but historically have not been required to be vaccinated for this preventable disease.  Even indoor cats have contracted this potentially fatal virus."

You can protect your pets and your family by talking to your veterinarian about vaccinating your dog and cat. According to Dr. Charles Rupprecht, chief of the rabies program at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Your local veterinarian plays a key role in controlling rabies."

Vaccinating your pet is one way that to help stop the spread of the disease. However, it is also important to be cautious around other animals. "Don’t handle wildlife-they are the primary reservoir for rabies," added Dr. Cruz and always ask before you pet a dog or cats first. Sticking your hand in fences or reaching out to unknown animals is risky and the results could be devastating.

In preparation for this year's World Rabies Day on September 28th, 2014 remember to keep yourself safe from wild animals and get your pet vaccinated. Learn more by visiting AVMA.org.

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