Rabies

Skunks transmit rabies
Rabies can be transmitted by wildlife.

Although the Centers for Disease Control stated in 2007 that canine rabies has been totally eradicated in the United States, they also caution that the only way for us to continue to enjoy this rabies-free status is to continue the current practice of vaccinations. Its also important to recognize that there are other strains of rabies that can infect your dog if he is bitten by a wild animal such as a skunk, bat, raccoon, or fox. In addition, dogs brought into the United States from foreign countries may also carry canine rabies into the country with them.

How is rabies spread?

The rabies virus is shed through the saliva of an infected animal; however, only about 15% of those who are bitten by a rabid animal will go on to develop the disease. In very rare cases, it has been reported that the rabies virus was spread in the air, but this typically occurs only in caves with large populations of bats. Without a host animal in which to live, the rabies virus dies very quickly. In the carcass of a dead host animal, the virus may live as long as 24 hours.

How is rabies prevented?

The best method for keeping your dog rabies free is to get him vaccinated against the disease. The most common protocol is to give an initial vaccination at 3 4 months of age, then another shot at 1 year. A year later, another vaccination is given, good for either 1 or 3 years. Most jurisdictions in the United States require that all dogs be vaccinated, sometimes by state law, sometimes by county or city law. However, estimates are that as many as half of the dogs in this country are not up to date on their vaccines. Depending on where you live, you may be required to give your dog an annual booster or you may only be required to update his rabies shot every three years. Your veterinarian can tell you what is required in your area.

Vaccination needle
Vaccination is your dog's best defense against rabies.

You can also protect your dog by keeping him away from wild animals that may be carrying the disease. If you see a wild animal near your home in the middle of the day, chances are he is sick and you should take your dog indoors and call animal control. Most wild animals have no desire for human contact. If the animal is willing to come near you, you should be suspicious of his health status. What do I do if my dog has been bitten by a wild animal?

Chances are, you will never know whether or not the animal who bit your dog is rabid or not, so you must take action as if it were. The rabies virus can be spread through the saliva of an infected animal as early as 10 days before the animal begins to show symptoms.

If your dogs rabies vaccinations are up to date, you should have your vet re-vaccinate your dog to give added protection. Your dog should be quarantined for 90 days to make sure symptoms do not develop.

If your dog has not been kept up to date on his shots, the only recommended option after being bitten by a wild animal is to euthanize the dog and send his brain tissue for rabies testing. The only way to definitively prove whether or not a dog has rabies is to examine sections of the brain under a microscope. If you cannot bring yourself to do this, the dog must be quarantined for six months and must be vaccinated one month before being released from quarantine.

What are the symptoms of rabies?

After a bite by an infected animal, the rabies virus slowly travels through the dogs body until it reaches the brain. This journey takes between 3 and 8 weeks in dogs, although there have been cases where the virus travels around the body for as long as 6 months before settling in the brain. During this incubation period while the virus is making its way to the brain, the dog will appear healthy, with no signs or symptoms of an infection. From the brain, the virus then travels to the salivary glands where it can infect another animal when the infected animal bites. Rabies virus can also be transmitted in other bodily fluids like tears, breast milk and urine.

Once the virus reaches the dogs brain, he will go through three stages very rapidly before succumbing to the rabies virus. In the prodromal phase, which lasts 2 3 days, the dog may develop a fever and become nervous. In addition, the dogs demeanor is likely to change drastically. Friendly dogs may become aggressive, while normally aggressive dogs are converted into affectionate, calm dogs.

In the furious or excitable phase, lasting 1 7 days, the dog will become restless and disoriented. He may attack his cage or other inanimate objects and be very sensitive to noise. Seizures are common during this stage. The paralytic stage, which may occur after either of the first two phases, starts 2 4 days after symptoms are first noticed. The virus infects the nerves of the head and throat, making it hard for the dog to swallow. He may begin to foam at the mouth as his saliva overflows. As paralysis spreads to the breathing muscles and the muscles of the face, the dog may have trouble breathing and his jaw may droop.

Dog foaming at the mouth
A dog infected with rabies may foam at the mouth.

Rabies has a kill rate of over 99% within 3 7 days of the onset of symptoms, causing death by creating respiratory failure. Once the dog begins to show symptoms of any of the three phases, there is no treatment. There is no cure for rabies, but humans may be given a series of vaccinations to prevent the disease from developing after a bite from an infected animal. Because so many places in the world do ot require rabies vaccinations for animals, at least 55,000 humans worldwide die each year from the disease, about 1 death every 10 minutes.

What should I do if Ive been bitten by a dog?

First, wash the area thoroughly with soap and warm water. If you know that the dog is healthy and you have seen proof of a current rabies vaccination, insist that the animal be quarantined for 10 days, then seen by a veterinarian to check for symptoms of rabies. If you seek treatment at a hospital, they will likely notify the health department, which in turn will deal with the dogs family.

Aggressive dog
An infected dog may become aggressive.

If you dont know whether the dog has been vaccinated, you will likely have to be given a series of five vaccine shots. Do not take the owners word for it; insist on seeing the vaccination papers yourself. This disease has the potential for killing you. Even if you trust the person implicitly, this matter is too important for you to leave to chance.

Once infection occurs, the rabies virus grows in muscle tissue and may go undetected for several days or months. During this incubation (or latent) period, the animal appears healthy and shows no sign of infection.

Leave a comment on this article here!


Name/Email
Comments
Rank

 

Doggies Den: Latest Articles

Top Ten Human Medications that are Toxic for your Dog Top Ten Human Medications that are Toxic for your Dog

DOG HEALTH As we get older, most of us probably have at least one prescription medication we take regularly, and for many, some form of pain reliever is a daily necessity. We might think that these same medications can help out our dogs as they get older, but their systems react to these chemical compounds in ways much different than ours.


Top Ten Tips for Living with a Senior Dog Top Ten Tips for Living with a Senior Dog

DOG HEALTH Bringing home a new puppy is so exciting, but it doesn’t take all that long for your exuberant puppy to grow into a senior dog who may have special needs. Here are the doggies.com top ten tips for taking care of your companion who has been with you through so much.


Boating with Your Dog Boating with Your Dog

DOG FUN Whether you like to go out on your pontoon, a fishing boat, or even a canoe, life on a boat can be even better if you bring your dog along. Here’s the doggies.com guide to dogs on boats. (A little different than Snakes on a Plane.)


Etiquette at the Dog Park Etiquette at the Dog Park

DOG FUN There 's no doubt about it, taking your dog to the dog park involves a certain amount of good manners. Here's our guide to "keeping your nose clean" while your dog hangs out with his or her friends.


What to do for a Dog Bite What to do for a Dog Bite

DOG BEHAVIOR Getting bitten by a dog can be scary, and you may be tempted to run around in circles for a while, trying to figure out what to do. Here's our guide to help you manage the situation.


Dog Daycares- What to Look For Dog Daycares- What to Look For

DAY CARE Sometimes our schedules change and we need some help watching after our dogs. Or, maybe we want to bring some other k-9s into their daily lives. Here's our guide to what you should look for before leaving your four-footed family member with strangers.


How to Talk to Your Dog How to Talk to Your Dog

DOG PSYCHOLOGYCommunication is the first step towards establishing a trusting relationship with your dog. Improper communication can damage the relationship between a person and their dog. Dogs feel confused and anxious when they cannot comprehend why they're being disciplined, commanded, or shepherded around.


Canine Blood Banks: Your Dog's Life Saving Transfusion Canine Blood Banks: Your Dog's Life Saving Transfusion

HEALTHIf you’ve never had to face the horror of your dog needing a blood transfusion, you may never have given a second thought to canine blood banks.


Doggies Blog Icon

Doggies Blog: Latest Posts

 Subscribe

Twitter- The Dog Den
     
 
 
Doggies den logo

Doggies Den:
Most Popular Articles