Today I want to talk about one of the most famous diseases for all warm-blooded animals. I will speak first about what is the rabies virus, then about The Relation Between rabies and dogs.
Rabies is a virus that affects mainly the brain; it affects the grey matter of the animal’s Central Nervous System explicitly. Sometimes it affects the spinal cord and is considered as a fatal virus, including dogs, cats and even humans (in short it affects any warm blooded-animal). It starts by spreading from the bite wound to the muscles than to the peripheral nerves and end up spreading the Central Nervous System and spinal cord.
This virus is zoonotic, which means that it can be transmitted from animals to humans. The most common way the rabies virus is transmitted to dogs is through a bite from a carrier for the disease such as foxes, raccoons, bats and even skunks. Infectious virus particles are housed in a rabid animal’s salivary glands, and that explains how the virus transmitted through saliva. Also, it can be transmitted by a scratch from the carrying-disease animal-like from dogs to humans.
The good part about the Rabies virus that it is preventable. However, this disease still evokes fear in so many people. The disease annually causes deaths of more than 50,000 humans and millions of animals worldwide, and once the symptoms appear, it can be fatal. That explains all this fear!
Rabies is famous for its unique form by extreme behavioural changes including aggression and attack behaviour, let’s call it the angry or furious form of this virus. The other type of this virus can cause something called paralytic rabies. It can lead to symptoms like weakness, loss of coordination and paralysis later on, and it can be a combination of the two forms. So to make it easy, it can be the Drunk-Virus, The Furious-Virus or The Furious Drunk-Virus.
The virus at first is weak and can take around one month to develop and become active. The problem is when the symptoms start to appear, that means a red alarm that the virus will begin progressively and rapidly to grow and become worse. STILL NOT CONVINCED THAT VACCINES ARE GOOD?
In this article, I will walk you through 4 essential topics about Rabies. First, I will discuss the Causes of Rabies. Then I will briefly write about the symptoms and types of rabies. After that, I will talk about the diagnosis of this disease and discuss the risk of your dog to be infected by rabies. The next topic will be about the treatment and prevention of rabies. In the end, I will write in short some facts about rabies.
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? THE CAUSE!
To understand What is the rabies virus, we need to know the cause. Every story behind Rabies starts with a “FIGHT”. If you suspect or notice that your dog has been in a fight with another animal such as finding a scratch, a bite or come in contact with a rabid animal you should take your dog immediately to your veterinarian to give it preventive treatment. Remember this “Prognosis is very poor” so do not take any chances.
As I wrote before the primary transmission of the virus from a bite from wild animals like foxes, raccoons and bats that carry the disease, and it might be transmitted through scratches too. So basically it can be transmitted through blood or saliva from the sick animal.
After that the virus becomes active and start to replicate s in the cells of your dog starting by muscles then spreads to Center Nervous System from peripheral nerves. The whole process takes up to 1 month. Most of the cases report that it takes around ten days. So again, do not take any chances when you suspect your dog is infected.
***Did you notice the bite on your dog, but you have no idea when this happened? That leads us to the next topic! Symptoms of Rabies.
SYMPTOMS AND TYPES- Knowledge is protective
As we mentioned above about What is the rabies virus. There are three forms of rabies; the infection starts with mild symptoms that can be missed, and it lasts around three days. After that, the disease begins to progress aggressively to either of the three forms.
Paralytic rabies can show weakness and loss of coordination followed by Paralysis. Furious rabies as the word says your, dog’s behaviour starts to change, the dog becomes aggressive and maybe attack anyone, even you.
However, some symptoms can occur in dogs such as Fever, Drop of Jaw, Seizures, Pica, Inability to swallow or eating, the tone of bark is changing or changed, Unusual behaviour (Shyness, aggression, excessive excitability, constant irritability and excessive salivation) or Hydrophobia.
WARNING: Do not wait for the symptoms to appear. If you suspect your dog is infected or had a fight with another animal, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
Is my Dog at Risk to be infected?
Rabies is a Vaccine-preventable viral disease. However, even if your dog is vaccinated, it is better to take it to the veterinarian immediately because it might take a booster dose. Unvaccinated dogs are most at risk to be infected with rabies, especially if they are outdoors for a long time without your supervision.
How to DIAGNOSE it?
Unfortunately, there is no accurate test to diagnose the disease. The only precise test known is by using brain tissue which can be performed after the death of the animal.
The only thing you can do is to contact your veterinarian immediately and if possible cage your dog to protect it and yourself. If your dog is so aggressive and already tried to attack you, then it is better to call the animal control department and let them catch it safely.
Your veterinarian will mostly give your dog a new dose of the vaccine. In case your dog is already vaccinated on the schedule and then quarantine it for ten days. Because there are other diseases, share the same aggressive behaviour as Rabies, the only way to diagnose it is by witnessing the fight with your dog with a wild animal.
**AGAIN: Do not wait for the symptoms to appear. If you suspect your dog is infected or had a fight with another animal, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
Treatment OR Prevention?
After understanding everything about What is the rabies virus and The Relation Between Rabies and Dogs, we can now talk about treatment and prevention.
As we mentioned before, your dog will get its new booster dose from your veterinarian. As there is no cure for Rabies; this is the only way to prevent the disease by Vaccination! Keep your dog vaccinated, and your dog will be healthy and protected.
Sadly, Rabies is always deadly for unvaccinated Dogs, even animals and usually occurring first ten days from the initial symptoms began. And know that unvaccinated Dogs will be quarantined up to 6 months.
Some FACTS about RABIES!
- Almost 40% of bitten by suspect infected animals are children.
- Thousands of people die every year because of Rabies.
- The MAIN source of rabies infection in humans are from DOGS.
- VACCINATION is the only way to protect both Dogs and Humans.
Protect your Pet, Protect Yourself
After understanding What is the rabies virus. Now you can Protect your pet to protect yourself by always keeping your pet’s rabies vaccine up to date and never miss it. Do not worry about the cost as there are many animal control agencies offer free or low-cost vaccination; you can always ask around and find them.
If your dog bites someone or another animal, it is always for the best to contact your veterinarian immediately, to control the situation and to vaccinate the victim. And do not forget never to leave it to chances if your dog is bitten by a wild animal, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Nevertheless, Do not forget to protect yourself if you are bitten or scratched by any animal wild or a pet. You need to visit your doctor to take the proper treatment or check the proof of rabies vaccination from the owner of the pet that attacked you.
Our Today’s Funny Quote:
“Ever consider what our dogs must think of us? I mean, here we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul, chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we’re the greatest hunters on earth!” — Anne Tyler