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Rabies is a fatal viral infection that is transmitted primarily through bite wounds. Skunks, bats, raccoons, and foxes are the primary carriers. Rabies is also fatal to humans; there has been only one case of a person surviving rabies when treatment was started after clinical signs were present. Puppies should be vaccinated when they are three to four months of age and then yearly after that.

If a person or a pet is bitten by an unknown or unvaccinated animal (dog, cat, or wild animal), the local health department or your veterinarian should be consulted. The animal that bit should be apprehended, if possible, and your veterinarian or local health official should be contacted immediately. At this time there are no tests available aside from euthanizing the patient and testing a brain sample to detect rabies. This is why it is so important that the vaccination status of your pet be kept current. Rabies is preventable through regular vaccination of dogs and cats.

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