Essay by John7High School, 11th gradeA+, March 1996

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What is Rabies? Who gets Rabies? Rabies is a viral disease of humans and other mammals. It is most common in carnivores. The word rabies comes from the word 'hydrophobia', fear of water. Rabies is a potentially deadly disease.

There are many things you can do to prevent yourself from meeting rabies. The most important thing to do, is to be certain your pets have updated vaccinations. Your pets can first get their vaccinations when they are three months old. After that booster vaccinations must be given every one to three years according to your state and city laws. It also depends on the type of vaccination.

Most people associate rabies with dogs, cats, raccoons, skunks, wolves, etc. The most common animals to have rabies are dogs, cats, and raccoons. Rabies cases in cats have outnumbered all other domestic animals every year since 1988.

There was fifty-three percents increase in cat rabies between 1991-1992. Most of the cases with cats have been unvaccinated strays.

Even if your pets do not go outside, they should still be vaccinated. You cannot tell if you pet will accidentally get out or an infected animal will get in. Avoid close contact with any wild animal. Never feed, handle, pet, or take any wild animals in. Rabid animals will usually act in an abnormal way, have a foamy saliva around the mouth, and show a loss of hair or fur. If the animal is nocturnal, it may be out during the day. Rabid animals are usually very outgoing and aggressive.

To keep wildlife away from your home avoid leaving pet food outside, and keep the lids on trash cans secure, or store them inside a garage or shed. You can prevent wildlife from your entering...