Everything to know about Rabies

Everything to know about Rabies

What is rabies?  Rabies is a viral disease that affects mammals, including humans. It is caused by the rabies virus, which belongs to the Lyssavirus genus. Rabies is a highly fatal disease if left untreated, but it is also preventable through vaccination and post-exposure treatment.

Symptoms of rabies? The symptoms of rabies can include three main stages. 

  1. Prodromal Stage: This initial stage may last for a few days and can include behavioral changes, such as increased aggression, anxiety, or restlessness. Dogs may also experience fever, hypersalivation (excessive drooling), and difficulty swallowing.
  2. Furious Stage: In this stage, dogs may become highly agitated, display uncharacteristic behavior, and exhibit aggression. They might snap, bite, and attack objects or people. Hypersalivation and difficulty swallowing continue.
  3. Paralytic (Dumb) Stage: Some dogs progress to this stage, which is characterized by muscle weakness, paralysis, and a loss of coordination. Dogs may become unable to swallow, leading to “foaming at the mouth.”

Once symptoms appear, rabies in dogs is almost always fatal, and they may die within a few days to weeks. In the body of a rabies affected person,the virus can remain inactive even for 2 years. 


Transmission and Reasons for Rabies (in Dogs): Rabies in dogs is typically transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal, often via a bite or scratch. Dogs can contract rabies from infected wildlife, such as raccoons, bats, or other mammals. The virus can also be spread through contact with infected animals’ saliva on mucous membranes or open wounds. In dogs and cats, the virus can spread due to fights and bites in between them.

Treatment (in Dogs): There is no cure for rabies once clinical symptoms appear in dogs. Infected dogs have  to be separated and kep isolated for observation. 

Prevention and Vaccination (in Dogs): Preventing rabies in dogs involves the following measures:

  1. Vaccination: Regular rabies vaccination of dogs is essential for preventing the disease. In many countries, it is a legal requirement for pet owners to vaccinate their dogs against rabies. Anti-rabies vaccination usually starts at the age of 3 months and has to be repeated every year. Incase of dog bites, please consult your veterinarian immediately for anti-rabies shorts. 
  2. ABC/AR: Stray animal population has to be humanely controlled through Animal Birth Control Programme anti Anti-rabies vaccination
  3. Avoiding Contact with Wildlife: Owners should prevent their dogs from coming into contact with potentially rabid wildlife.

Rabies Virus (in Dogs and Humans): The rabies virus is a single-stranded RNA virus that primarily affects the central nervous system. It is a member of the Lyssavirus genus. The virus has a bullet-like shape and is highly neurotropic, meaning it has a strong affinity for nerve cells.

Risk and Dangerousness (in Dogs and Humans): Rabies is a dangerous and potentially fatal disease for both dogs and humans. Once symptoms appear, it is almost always fatal without treatment. In humans, rabies is a significant public health concern, and post-exposure treatment (PEP) must be administered promptly after potential exposure to the virus. In dogs, prevention through vaccination is key.

Survival of the Virus (in Dogs and Humans): The rabies virus is fragile and does not survive well outside of a host. In dried saliva and tissues of an infected animal, it may survive for a limited time, typically a few hours to a few days. It is important to handle potentially rabid animals with caution to avoid exposure to the virus. However once infected, the virus can remain inactive in the body till 2 years. Vaccination in the period will not help inactivating the virus, once affected. 

What to do if I am bitten by dogs? Keep it in mind that, not all biting dogs are rabid dogs. A dog can attack a human due to a number of reasons including hormonel imbalance, mood variations, fear, aggression etc. Not even all aggressive dogs are rabid dogs. If your properly vaccin ated healthy dog bites you, wash the wound in running water with any soap for 5 minutes. Usually nothing to be scared of a fully vaccinated, known dog, but for safer side, consult your doctor. 

If you are bitten by an unknown / stray dog, please was the wound in running water for 5 miutes, using soap, do not cover the wound and consult your doctor for vaccination in 24 hours time or as early as possible.