What you need to know about Rabies?
Rabies is a dangerous virus which is spread by saliva that transmitted through a bite or broken skin. The virus travels from the wound through the nerves and spinal cord to the brain, where it causes swelling, or inflammation. The virus then incubates in the body for 3 to 8 weeks, with no symptoms. Once the brain is infected, the virus multiplies and spreads to the salivary glands and the symptoms appear.
What are some signs of Rabies?
Initial signs include behavior and personality changes, some restlessness, and fearfulness, and licking the site of the original bite wound. Signs progress to restlessness, agitation and overreaction to sights and sounds. These lead to full-blown aggression, then disorientation followed by seizures. Dogs may also experience paralysis in the head and neck area. This causes inability to swallow, resulting in the infamous “foaming at the mouth,” and respiratory distress, which leads to death.
How is Rabies treated?
If bitten, humans can get a vaccination the same day, and follow a preventative vaccination protocol with good effect. There is no cure once symptoms are present, and the disease is almost always fatal at this point. The best option for dogs is the rabies vaccine.
Thanks to the rabies vaccine, rabies in dogs has not been an issue in the United States for some time. Other species which carry the disease are ferrets, bats, raccoons, and skunks. Any mammal can carry the disease.
Rabies vaccines used to be given annually, but for dogs at a low risk, a three year vaccine has been developed.
Rabies is almost always fatal.
Published by Murrayhill Veterinary Hospital, Your AAHA Accredited Beaverton Pet Hospital.