Veterinarians remind pet owners to update their Rabies vaccinations

21 Jun Veterinarians remind pet owners to update their Rabies vaccinations

An unvaccinated hunting dog in East Tennessee serves as a sad reminder to vaccinate your pet to protect them and your family from the Rabies virus.

Rabies is 100% preventable with vaccinations and 100% fatal once a victim starts showing symptoms. It is a progressive viral disease of the central nervous system contracted through saliva of an infected animal.

In this case, a 9-year-old male dog presented with trouble swallowing and closing his mouth. He did not have specific “foaming at the mouth” signs of Rabies and was friendly toward staff. Veterinarians at White Pine Animal Hospital in Jefferson County treated him, but his health continued to decline. He was ultimately euthanized, and samples of brain tissue were sent for testing. The test for Rabies came back positive and as a skunk variant, so he was likely bitten by a rabid skunk through his chain-link outdoor kennel.

More than a dozen people including the dog’s family members and the veterinary staff have undergone a series of Rabies vaccinations or boosters.

Tennessee law requires that dogs over 6 months of age be vaccinated for Rabies. If you own a dog (or cat) with an unknown vaccination history, or it has been more than three years since their last Rabies vaccination, veterinarians recommend vaccinating as soon as possible.