Home Companion Animals The Preliminaries About Rabies: You Must Know As A Dog Owner

The Preliminaries About Rabies: You Must Know As A Dog Owner

Rabies is a viral disease of warm-blooded animals including human in which the inflammation of brain tissue occurs. The early symptoms of rabies are fever and signs of biting at the body parts by rabid animals. In another word, it is a deadly virus to spread to people from the saliva of infected animals by biting or another attack like scratch or contact with saliva. The rabies virus usually transmitted through a bite, direct contact of infected saliva.

This disease is a severe, and often fatal, viral polioencephalitis of warm-blooded animals and human that mainly affects the grey matter of the dog’s brain and its central nervous system. There are few wild animals that are naturally carrier of rabies virus is skunks, foxes, raccoons and bats which transmit the virus by bitting to other healthy animals and man. Infectious virus particles are retained in a rabid animal’s salivary gland to disseminate the virus through their saliva better.      

Rabies Symptoms


In most of the cases the rabies symptoms saw in the infected animals within the first week of infection or exposure. The early symptoms of rabies are very generalized problems in animals like headaches and fever without any history. The symptoms will not raise the body temperature and very similar to flue like the infection in your dogs. There are three stages of disease occur in progression:

1.  Prodromal Stage

The symptoms in most cases with the change of temperament and often rise in body temperature. The saliva of rabid dog may contain a large amount of rabies virus.

2.  Furious Form

The rabies symptoms in this stage with restlessness and irritability, chew and swallow stones, woods, carpets, and straw.  Spells of hyper excitement may be started infrequently; if you free to wonder, a rabid dog can travel up to 125 miles or more. Generalized signs of paresis, gradually developed weakness, of legs and tail, difficulty in swallowing, dropping of jaw and eyelids and rabid dogs can die during convulsive seizures.

3.  Dumb Form

This is the most common form of the disease in dogs, and it is more difficult to diagnose. In this stage, the prodromal or furious form may be absent or transient. The most common rabies symptoms of dumb forms are as follows:

  • Progressive paralysis of all muscles, excessive salivation and dysphagia are seen in conjunction with so-called “drop jaw.”
  • Jaw and eyelids drop, eyes tend to squint, conjunctival congestion is usually marked.
  • May drool saliva from the jaws,
  • Rabid dogs with dumb form can and will bite if provoked.
  • If you saw the paralysis, the dog will die from respiratory failure.

Diagnosis


There are different methods of diagnosis of rabies in dogs. You can apply your experience and close observation and as well as the recent activity of your dogs and the vaccination schedule of your dogs. The common methods are as follows:

Recommended Read: Everything You Need To Know About Dog Grooming: The Ultimate Guide

A presumptive diagnosis of rabies by rabies symptoms that I have discussed above.

  • History of rabies vaccine to your dogs.
  • Availability of non-vaccinated dogs in around your area.
  • If you find the above observations in your dog, you can go for confirmatory diagnosis by following means:
  • Direct Fluorescent Antibody (FA) testing from brain tissue by the impression of the brain.
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction(PCR) of brain tissue for the rabies virus.
  • Immunoperoxidase test.
  • Complement Fixation  Test (CFT).
  • Histological identification of Negri bodies from brain tissues.
  • Animal Inoculation methods( Inoculation of rabies virus in mouse)

Treatment


There is no treatment for rabies in a rabid dog. If your dog affected by rabies, immediately take it to a veterinarian. The Vet will decide the treatment policy after diagnosis. If your dog is showing the rabies symptoms, then it’s better to euthanize the dog than treatment. The known Anti-Rabies serum can be used for the affected animals.

Rabies is a viral disease that causes inflammation of the brain in dog

The immediate actions You Must Take After Biting by A Rabid Dog

If you or your pet are bitten by a rabid dog or a rabid animal whose vaccination history is unknown, you can take the following measures:

The site of a bite by a rabid dog should be washed by soap water (Strong Alkali washing soap is better than bath soap) as soon as possible just after biting. The other washing compounds are sodium-bicarbonate, 2% quaternary ammonium compounds and Tincture iodine.

Vaccine


For both man and dogs, there are two types of rabies vaccine. The first one is the pre-exposure vaccine and the second one is a post-exposure vaccine.

1.  Pre- Exposure Vaccine

  • The pre-exposure vaccines include freeze-dried vaccine ampoule (LEP and HEP) dissolved in 3 ml diluent supplied by the manufacturer, and you must be administered Intramuscularly(IM) in animals at three months of age.
  • It is inactivated Rabies virus vaccine produced with fixed Pasteur PM strain rabies virus on cell culture (NIL cell), inactivated with beta-propiolactone, and absorbed on to aluminum hydroxide.\
  • These pre-exposure vaccines mainly used for active immunization against for all species at a constant dose of 1 ml per animal in IM or subcutaneous(SC) regardless of the species, size and age of the animals.

2.  Post Exposure Vaccine

These vaccines you can give to your pets of man after biting by a rabid dog or any rabies prone animal whose vaccination history is unknown. The post-exposure vaccine is prepared with fixed rabies virus strain in sheep brain and administered SC as per schedule.

Vaccine Schedule


Now let’s have a look on Rabies Vaccine Schedule:

1.  Pre Exposure Vaccine

SpeciesAge of First DoseBorn to Immunized MotherBooster
Carnivores4 weeks11 weeksyearly

2.  Post-Exposure Vaccine

SpeciesDose and Duration of SC Injection
Dog and Cat(bellow 30 lb)5ml daily for seven days
Dogs( above 30 lb)10 ml daily for 7 days

Prevention


All dogs and cats with any exposure to wildlife or other dogs you should be vaccinated according to standard recommendations. Dogs and cats you  should be vaccinated after 12 weeks of age, given a second vaccine 12 months later and then every 3 years (LEP vaccine 3 ml IM in dog and HEP vaccine 1.5 ml in cat IM);It is recommended that dogs and cats be vaccinated at 3 months of age, again one year later, and either annually or tri-annually thereafter,depending on the rabies vaccine used.

Recommended Read: What To Do If Bitten By A Dog: Dog Bite Treatment and Prevention

There are no inactivated rabies vaccines approved for use in wild or exotic animals. Restriction the exposure of dogs and cats with wildlife and susceptible dogs; Control of fox rabies in wildlife by the oral vaccine in baits.Dog registration and control of street dogs.

Final Word


Rabies is one of the most deadly diseases of pet animals especially dogs and cats that you can prevent by early vaccination. This disease is also the disease that can transmit to the human being and other healthy pets. So as a pet owner you must know the symptoms, treatment, and prevention. The regular vaccine schedule I have discussed above, you can follow that. Pre-exposure vaccine is mainly for prevention and post-exposure vaccine for immediate treatment.

Recommended Read: How To Train Your Dog: Principles of Basic Obedience Dog Training

I think these piece of information will definitely help you and your pets. If you are benefited by the above article, please share it via social media and subscribe to our website.

Muktaruzzman
Muktaruzzman
I am a veterinary practitioner with 10 years of experience. I am working with Military Working Dogs, Horses and Farm Animals. Simultaneously I am also looking after zoo animals and birds. I want to share my knowledge, experience, and ideas through virtual media.

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