Standing Up to a Viral Monster—with Rabies Tags

Werewolf attacking woman

Rabies is a contagious and fatal malady, infecting only mammals, and transmitted primarily through the saliva of the infected animal. It causes madness and convulsions in dogs and other afflicted creatures. Some of us learned at an early age about the tragedy of rabies through Fred Gipson’s classic novel, Old Yeller. Other novels and films have used the terror of rabies as a plot point, and to good effect. Stephen King’s Cujo and Chuck Palahniuk’s Rant come to mind. Harper Lee’s award-winning To Kill a Mockingbird touches on the inherent danger of a rabid dog when it wanders into town; and Atticus Fitch, though hesitant, uses his skill with a rifle to put the dog down. Being mammals, humans too can become infected if bitten by a rabid bat, dog, or other infected animal. What can be done to prevent this disease? Following (most) state regulations, pet owners should have their dogs and cats (and ferrets!) vaccinated against rabies. The vaccination status should be easily visible on a durable rabies tag affixed to a collar worn around the neck of the pet.
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Prudence Is a Virtue

Cute dog with blue rosette rabies license tag

Owners of domesticated pets, such as dogs, cats, and even ferrets, wonder about the necessity of getting their animals inoculated against rabies in this day and age and—to add insult to injury—making them indefinitely wear visible rabies license tags to show they’ve been vaccinated. The short answer is Yes, it is necessary! Unlike smallpox (the only microbe-caused disease known, as of 1980, to be effectively eradicated globally), rabies still thrives in parts of the world. Because they are mammals, your furry pets are vulnerable.

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