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If you're like most pet owners, you probably take your dog into the veterinarian every year for a rabies vaccination but don't really think much about the disease otherwise. This frightening illness is fatal and incurable, but luckily, it is fairly rare in domesticated dogs in most of the world.

However, rabies does still pose a risk for dogs and their owners. It is therefore important to understand the disease and how to prevent it. Rabies in dogs may be rare today, but that's only because of education and routine preventative measures.

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1. What is Rabies?

Rabies is the name of a disease caused by a virus in the Lyssavirus genus. This virus typically first takes up residence in the muscles, where it begins to replicate. From there, it spreads into the nervous system, which is its preferred environment. It causes significant damage to the infected animal's nervous system, which will eventually kill the animal. Most viruses can only infect a limited number of species, but rabies is somewhat unusual because it can survive in any mammal, including humans.

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