People across the world will unite on Sept. 28 for World Rabies Day in an effort to raise awareness about rabies prevention in humans and animals. While the disease rarely strikes in the United States, it does still pose a threat. And a survey conducted by WMS Marketing Services for Merial reveals that pet owners don't completely understand the risks of rabies.
The study showed that 94 percent of dog owners get their pets vaccinated against rabies but only 75 percent of cat owners reported their feline friends are vaccinated. This discrepancy might be explained by the finding that 57 percent of cat owners thought their indoor pets weren't at risk of contracting rabies, while just 37 percent of dogs owners felt the same. (Perhaps it's not a surprise then that cats are almost three times as likely to get rabies as dogs, making cats the U.S. pet most likely to contract the disease.)
Clients' misinformation doesn't stop with indoor pets. Dog and cat owners alike didn't understand that rabies is always fatal in animals once clinical signs appear. In fact, 24 percent of dog owners and 26 percent of cat owners thought animals don't typically die from the disease.
This data points to the need to continue educating clients about rabies and its effects on pets—and people. To learn more about how to do this, visit the World Rabies Day Web site at WorldRabiesDay.org.