Rabies is a disease that is most commonly transmitted through a bite
of an infected animal. It is carried in the saliva, so it's possible to
be infected through an open wound, also - an actual bite isn't necessary.
The virus targets the central nervous system and it eventually works its way up to the brain causing encephalitis, a condition that causes an inflammation in the brain, which will lead to death. It closely mimics other illness, such as fever, headache, and overall body weakness.
As the virus gradually progresses, symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight paralysis, hallucinations, increase saliva, difficulty swallowing will occur. Death will follow after a couple of days with these dog symptoms.
The worst thing about rabies is that the virus, in extreme cases, can live in an incubation period from a couple of months to years before any actual symptoms show. Flu-like symptoms normally show anywhere from two to twelve weeks.
Once the virus has infected the central nervous system and when later symptoms start to show such as hallucinations, delirium, paralysis, insomnia, there is literally nothing that can be done, as it is untreatable at this stage. Death by rabies happens within two to ten days after the first sign of symptoms.
There are several countries such as the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand that have completely eliminated dogs (and other animals) with rabies, however airborne animals such as birds and bats still remain a concern with the transmission of rabies.
Dog bites are the cause of about 97% of worldwide rabies. Economically, rabies is one of the main causes for livestock death in certain third world countries.
One symptom of rabies which can indicate infection by this fatal malady can be anxiety. Rabies (or hydrophobia as it's also called) is a disease that can infect any type of mammal, including both dogs and humans.
Rabies is one of the most well known viruses there are due to the vast amounts of species that are potentially at risk of contracting it. At the same time, though, exposure to the virus doesn't necessarily mean that there's a 100% chance of becoming infected by it; even though it can (and does) infect just about every kind of mammal there is, the truth is that humans, dogs and cats have a bit of a smaller chance of contracting it.
The risks are considerably lowered for them, but it's still important to be fully educated on the disease and how it works just in case. Because the rabies virus tends to exist at high levels in an infected animal's saliva, the most common way this disease is transferred is through a bite.
Once the infection is passed on, the rabies virus spreads through the victim's nervous system, moving slowly but surely throughout the animal's body until finally reaching the brain. In dogs, this incubation period can last from three to eight days before the virus begins to work find its way to the brain, and it's not unheard of for this stage in the infection to take longer (sometimes even up to as much as six months after contraction), so it's possible that you won't notice a single dog disease symptom until some time after the animal has been bitten by another rabid creature.
Once the rabies virus reaches the brain, it's only a short while before it makes its way into the dog's saliva, and the host is ripe for spreading the infection.
There are a number of stages that an infected host may go through after contracting the rabies virus. Rabid animals may go through just one, or perhaps two of these stages, but sometimes they might even end up experiencing all of them. In dogs, the first stage (known as the prodromal phase) usually only lasts for maybe two or three days.
In this stage, one dog disease symptom one might notice is increased dog anxiety The infected animal might act nervous, and may also experience a fever.
Most rabid animals, when going through this stage, will continuously lick the area where they were bitten.
The next stage, which the infected may or
may not experience, is the furious phase, which causes the dog to become
increasingly hostile and irritable—this phase tends to last for about a
week or less.This phase is when there is the most risk of the virus being passed on, through a bite.
The final phase causes the animal's muscles and nerves to be stricken with paralysis, and it will usually die as a result of a failing respiratory system.
There are currently no forms of dog first aid that can be used to treat rabies.
Once it is contracted, the chance that the infected animal will survive is very slim.
Instead, measures must be taken to prevent rabies before it ever has the chance to cause an infection. To this end, preventive vaccinations are currently the best option for ensuring that your pet does not fall prey to this illness.
Any pet that has been attacked by a wild mammal or a bat should be treated with caution as they could be exposed to rabies. It is best that you take your pet to a vet to ensure that they are okay. Dogs and cats that have not been vaccinated as well as attacked should be dealt with extreme care.
People traveling with pets to countries that have been rabies free will be required to put their pets in quarantine for six months and then vaccinated one month before being returned to the owner.
This is to ensure that they are absolutely free of rabies. Owners who have gotten their pet a certified vaccination from their vet will only have to place them in quarantine for 45 days.
The best dog first aid for your pet is to ensure that he is indoors at night and prevent him from getting into fights with other wild animals.
Vaccinating your pet every year to every year and a half is also recommended. Visit your veterinarian and talk to them about how frequently you should vaccinate your animal.
Recent studies show that vaccines actually last longer in your pet than previously thought (a year and a half to two years) and that vaccinating your pet every 6 months could actually be hurting him/her in the end.
It is estimated that half of all dogs are not vaccinated even though it is required by law in most countries.