It is mostly the preventable viral disease of mammals spread through bite of a rabid animal.
It mostly affects the central nervous system, leading to death. It may affect the brain and spinal cord of all Wmammals including bats, raccoons and skunks, but domesticated animals like dogs and cats are also at risk.
Humans are also at higher risk of getting virus when bitten by infected mammals and also occur through saliva which comes in contact with an open wound or touching mucous membranes.
Death usually occurs within days of the severe symptoms discussed in the below topics.
The initial symptoms of rabies may cause mild abnormalities with the central nervous system, such as weakness and loss of coordination. We can see many behavioral changes such as restlessness or apprehension along with aggression.
These kinds of dog bite or attacks other animals, humans and even inanimate objects. Signs progress to restlessness, agitation and overreaction to sights and sounds.
Other symptoms are:
1. Foaming at the mouth.
2. Paralysis of the throat and jaw muscles
3. Inability to swallow, resulting in excess salivation
4. Progression leads to delirium, abnormal behavior, hallucinations, and insomnia.
5. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, weakness, seizures and sudden death.
Once the clinical signs of rabies occur, the disease is nearly always fatal.
Rabies is caused by the rabies virus. This kind of virus affects the brain and it leads to the death of the affected animals.
The bite of a rabid animal is the most common cause of rabies. Also this virus affects other animals and humans through saliva of the affected animals which enters the body through fresh wound.
Also through non-bite exposures includes inhalation of aerosol particles of the virus, or by a rabid animal licking a person's eyes, nose, mouth, or broken skin.
Many mammals spread rabies. It is most often transmitted via the saliva of bats, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, and skunks. This virus is also found in cows, cats, ferrets, and horses. It is highly recommended to vaccinate the animals’ against rabies.
From the above mentioned symptoms it is difficult to predict the occurrence of these diseases. In order to be sure that animal has been affected is to perform direct fluorescent antibody test (dFA) on brain tissue - it can only be performed after the death of the animal.
There is a test which doesn’t include the killing of the animals. This test result in the examination of serum, spinal fluid, and saliva but the results may not 100% sure of the disease. This can be done in human and animals which don’t require slaughter.
It is important to keep in mind that animal with this disease should be reported to your state health department.
Unfortunately, there is no cure or effective treatment for rabies. Since it results in the serious public health threat, the infected animals are most often killed.
Rabid animal bites an unvaccinated dog: It should be isolated immediately and inform health department.
Rabid animal bites a vaccinated dog: Immediately revaccinated and it should be isolated 10 days for observation.
Vaccinated dog bites a person: It should be isolated 10 days for observation if there’s no sign of rabies then it may be infected while biting.
Unvaccinated dog bites the person: The animal should be immediately killed and submitted for rabies testing. Unvaccinated people should receive post exposure treatment within 48 hours
The most effective way to prevent rabies in pets is through vaccination. Safe vaccinations are available for all your pets (Dogs, Cats, Horse etc...). It should be vaccinated after 12 weeks of age, one year later, and then every 3 years.
Maintain control of your pets by keeping dogs indoors and under direct supervision.
It is highly advised to follow the recommendations of your veterinarian, and also when you have your pet vaccinated, keep your vaccination record handy for proof of vaccination.
Protect yourself from this disease by
1. Avoid contact with animals you don't know.
2. Avoid contact with your pet’s saliva if infected.
3. Get vaccinated if you work in a high-risk occupation or travel to countries with a high rate of rabies.
4. Immediately disinfect any areas your pet may have come in contact with using a bleach solution.
5. If you have been bitten or scratched yourself, contact your physician immediately.
6. Do not keep skunks, foxes, raccoons, or bats as pets; they cannot be vaccinated and are susceptible to rabies. Avoid animals that seem to be behaving abnormally, especially wild animals that seem too friendly.