Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. The virus is secreted in saliva and is typically transmitted to animals and humans by a bite from an infected animal. In some cases, though less commonly, rabies can be transmitted if saliva from a rabid animal comes in contact with an open cut on the skin or through the nose, mouth or eyes of a person or animal. Once symptoms of rabies appear, the disease is almost always fatal. In the United States, most cases of rabies occur in wild animals, mainly raccoons, bats, skunks, foxes and coyotes.

Rabies is entirely preventable through vaccination! Your dogs, cats, ferrets, horses and livestock should be vaccinated. In Pennsylvania, state law requires dogs and cats to be vaccinated for rabies. Reduce the possibility of exposure to rabies by not letting your pets roam free. Don’t leave exposed garbage and pet food outside as this may attract wild or stray animals. More information on rabies can be found on these websites: www.avma.org and www.rabiesalliance.org/world-rabies-day.

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