Rabies in Dogs – Symptoms, Complications, and Diagnosis.


Rabies in Dogs – The rabies virus is a lethal and rapid-acting single-stranded RNA virus from the family Rhabdoviridae which affects the mammalian animal’s central nervous system and finally leads to acute encephalitis. There are two forms of rabies called, furious and paralytic. Initially, rabies begins as a furious form and later it develops into paralytic rabies if the dog is left untreated for long periods and ends up with death.

A rabid dog

Two forms of rabies

Rabies is manifested in two ways named furious rabies and dumb rabies.

Furious rabies

Furious rabies is named after the hyperactivity and the turbulence behavior of the victims. Its signs and symptoms appear quickly than dumb rabies because the virus travels from the nerve endings via the spinal cord to the brain.

Dumb rabies

Dumb rabies also called as paralytic rabies. In this form, the virus travels to motor nerves which affect their functions and cause muscle paralysis to coma.

Incidence among worldwide

Rabies takes place internationally, affecting pets and the natural world. General prevalence is low in maximum places, however, in some areas, the virus poses a serious chance to animals and human beings. In the Northeastern US, rabies has been contagious among raccoons because of late 1970’s.

Greater than 50 percent of all rabies cases in the USA comprises raccoons. Skunks (22.5%), foxes (6.5%), and insectivorous bats (10%) are other common carriers. Rabies is hardly found in smaller mammals inclusive of rabbits, squirrels, rats, and opossums. Domestic animals account for much less than 10 percent of all instances in the United States of America.

Rabies stays a critical problem among domestic animals in sure elements of Latin the USA, Africa, and Asia. Mongooses and vampire bats are common carriers in these regions.

There are rabies-loose international locations, where the ailment has either never been recorded or has been eradicated thru strict quarantines and prevention programs. Those areas consist of the British Isles, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Japan, and parts of Scandinavia. Dogs and cats getting into rabies-free nations are usually required to be quarantined for about 6 months, permitting time to study the animal for behavioral symptoms of rabies.

Transmission and causes of rabies

Mode 1: Usually transmission begins when dogs are in contact with an infected saliva from an infected animal through a bite. After this initial bite, the rabies virus travels to the nerve cells of the brain where it multiplies and shifts to salivary glands.

Mode 2: The second mode of transmission is from non-bite exposure, such as saliva, blood, laceration, and blemish. This type of transmission occurs very rarely and it is not observed repeatedly.

The virus can be transmitted by warm-blooded animals such as cat, dog, monkey, cattle, skunk, cow, and wolf, coyote, fox, and rabbit, squirrel, bat, and raccoon. Non-mammals that also spread the rabies virus are fish, birds, and reptiles. Rabies cannot be transmitted by amphibians.

Incubation period of rabies virus

After the transmission, the virus incubates for 20 days to 2 months without any symptoms. According to the size and weight of the dog incubation period may vary. The symptoms appear only after it gets multiplied in the salivary gland. The arrival of the symptoms can be identified by the following factors:

  • The site where the bite wound is located
  • Closeness of the wound to CNS
  • Severity of the wound

  • Type and quantity of virus injected into the body
  • Animal’s age
  • Condition of the host immune system

Risk factors

  • Dogs that are not vaccinated from its birth is at high risk of developing rabies.
  • Dogs that always in contact with wildlife
  • Dogs that are bitten by infected animals such as reptiles, bats, fox, wolf, and raccoon.
  • Exposure to other infected pets like cat and domestic animals like goat and cattle.
  • Exposure to the urine of other infected animals.
  • Exposed wounds in your dogs may help the rabies virus to travel quickly into the brain.

Manifestation of rabies in your dogs

The following signs and symptoms can be available for two weeks to several months after exposure the rabies virus.

Changes in behavior

  • Unprovoked aggressive behavior
  • Even became over affectionate
  • Viciousness
  • Irritability
  • Excitability
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety

Abnormal behavior

  • Licking abnormally at the infection site
  • Biting
  • Wandering
  • Looks like bewildered
  • Wobble
  • Hydrophobia

Physical changes

  • Too much salivating

  • Change in barking sound
  • Foam at the mouth
  • Heavy fever
  • Loss of appetite


  • Paralyzed in the head and neck locations
  • Difficult in swallowing
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Respiratory failure and finally death

Diagnosis of rabies in dogs

Direct fluorescent antibody test (DFA):

  • Direct fluorescent antibody test (DFA) is the only technique used to diagnose the dogs with rabies. A brain tissue preferably, from the brain stem and cerebellum is taken for which a dog to be euthanized. Immunofluorescence microscopy is used to visualize directly the specific antigen-antibody reaction.

  • To confirm rabies, the virus is isolated by mouse inoculation test or by tissue culture technique using mouse neuroblastoma cells and studying the virus expression in the mouse cells.
  • For the affected pets quarantine period is necessary to note the signs and symptoms.


Miserably there is no cure for rabies in animals.

  • If the rabid animal bites the unvaccinated dog, immediately the dog should be taken to the local veterinary hospital and the dog should be isolated at the present time. Such dogs have to be observed for 6 months.

  • If a rabid animal bites or pinched the vaccinated dog, it is advised to give the booster vaccine and must be observed for 60days by a local veterinary doctor.
  • Since it is an easily spreadable disease of animals, suspected animals should be euthanized to prevent the spreading of rabies virus.

How to prevent our dogs from rabies?

Prevention is the best way to escape your dogs from rabies.

  • First and foremost preventive measures are vaccinating your dog once in a year or every 3 years. Consult with a veterinary doctor about the vaccinations shots and the dose.
  • Euthanize the infected animals and pets immediately after the exposure to rabies. There is no value in having such animals as rabies is lethal and easily spreadable.
  • Isolate your dogs from the other animals, thereby minimizing the exposure of your dog from other infected pets such as cats, ferrets, and wild animals.

  • Spaying/neutering the dogs to reduce the infection of unwanted pets that are not vaccinated periodically.
  • Inform to the animal control squad to take away the stray animals from your location.
  • Do not allow other domestic animals, bats, and pets enter into the dog’s area.
  • If your dog is having an open wound please go to the veterinary clinic to cover the wound.
  • If any stray animals around your neighborhood are affected with rabies, it should be euthanized immediately and its brain should be submitted to the veterinary hospital for diagnosis.

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  1. Your Name Hamisu Muhammad

    the rabies disease its supposed to use handgloves at anytime during giving a medications lncluding using musk. thanks you.

  2. Its good. Its self explanatory and encompassing.

  3. Taking preventive measures against Rabid animals such as Dogs, Cats, Bats, Wolves, and Rats is far much better since Rabies has no panacea.

  4. about treatment and vaccine is needed for common man

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