DogHealth & Diet

What To Know About Rabies

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Because rabies is an infectious zoonotic illness, it can spread from animals to people and vice versa. It has a high fatality rate; if symptoms appear, there is almost no doubt that the outcome will be death.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Rabies virus belongs to the order Mononegavirales, viruses with a nonsegmented, negative-stranded RNA genomes. Within this group, viruses with a distinct “bullet” shape are classified in the Rhabdoviridae family, which includes at least three genera of animal viruses, Lyssavirus, Ephemerovirus, and Vesiculovirus.”

This condition was once known as hydrophobia in humans since it seems to make people afraid of water. The reason is that when a person with rabies tries to swallow, it causes severe throat spasms. Sometimes, just the idea of swallowing can send spasms and panic through the body.

After 2-4 days, rabies symptoms frequently worsen quickly. Clinical signs of the illness include nerve problems, which include hyperesthesia and aggression before manifesting as paralysis and death. 

The most typical way for a dog to become infected is through a bite from an infected animal, where the virus is spread through saliva. Rarely, a dog’s open wound or the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, or mouth could become contaminated by an infected animal’s saliva or nerve tissue, which would result in the virus being transmitted without a bite being made.

There are two types of classical rabies: paralytic and furious. Dogs with the condition may exhibit symptoms of one or both kinds. Dogs can turn hostile and perhaps delusional if the furious phase intensifies. They could appear to be hallucinating and attack their environment without cause. The paralytic phase sees the beginnings of paralysis in numerous muscle systems in dogs. They frequently lose their capacity to swallow, which causes hypersalivation and mouth foaming, which is believed to be a classic rabies virus infection indication.

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It is crucial to pay attention to the symptoms and correctly interpret the signs because it is impossible to definitively diagnose rabies in a living animal. If your pet was bitten by a rabid animal but is already vaccinated against rabies, the veterinarian will administer a booster anti-rabies vaccine.

Unfortunately, rabies usually results in death in unvaccinated animals. Therefore, an unvaccinated dog that is bitten by or exposed to a known rabid animal must be confined for up to four months or, if the owner opposes euthanasia, must be put down in accordance with municipal and state laws.

The rabies vaccine, which promotes the production of antibodies, is the most effective way to lessen the chance of contracting rabies. The junior dog vaccination plan includes this vaccine as one of a number of mandatory shots.

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