Rabies is a viral disease that can not be treated, is fatal, and when bitten or in close contact with the carrier, it is transmitted to both humans and other animals. The owner needs to know how to identify the first symptoms of rabies in a dog, and what to do when the slightest suspicion arises. It is also necessary to be able to provide first aid to a person who has been bitten, because it depends on it whether he gets sick or not.
Incubation period and rabies symptoms
The incubation period of rabies - the time interval from infection to the onset of the first symptoms - is on average 30-40 days, but can also vary from several days to several months. This period is usually shortened with bites to the head and lengthens with bites of the extremities. All this time, a person can feel good, except perhaps pulling pain in the bite and itching.
There is no cure for rabies. The outcome of the disease is always fatal.
The first symptoms of rabies are general weakness, malaise, lack of appetite, headache, runny nose, cough, sore throat and stomach, diarrhea, vomiting. An infected person may feel pain, tingling, tingling, or burning at the wound site.
As the virus spreads through the tissues of the brain and spinal cord, acute neurological disorders develop. Apathy and depression are replaced by increased excitability, anxiety, hyperactivity, sometimes aggressiveness. Patients are disoriented, they have convulsions, hallucinations, mental changes. The characteristic signs of rabies are fear of water, bright light, loud noises, wind. So, at the sight of water or even one mention of it, the patient may experience painful spasms of the muscles of the larynx and pharynx, cramps that distort the face, fear, hiccups or vomiting.
In the intervals between episodes of hydrophobia, aerophobia, photophobia or acoustophobia, a rabies patient is usually calm, conscious, contactable and oriented.
After 1-2 days, excessive salivation begins, the patient is covered with cold, sticky sweat. Within 2-4 days, when there is a period of hyperactivity and excited behavior, death may occur as a result of stopping respiratory or cardiac activity. Otherwise, rabies flows into the paralytic stage: the patient calms down, phobia attacks stop, the person is able to drink and eat. Along with this, lethargy, tachycardia, decreased blood pressure, and apathy increase. Paresis and paralysis of cranial nerves, limbs, pelvic organs appear, the temperature rises to 42 degrees. Paralysis of the respiratory and cardiovascular centers leads to death.
From the onset of the first symptoms, the disease usually lasts 3-7 days. The period of excitement is sometimes absent (more often after bites of bats).
How to prevent the development of clinical symptoms
Prevention of rabies after a bite of a wild or domestic animal includes local treatment of the wound, a course of immunization with the vaccine, and the administration of immunoglobulin (as indicated). All places of bites and scratches should be washed as soon as possible with water using soap or a disinfectant, and the edges of the wound should be treated with iodine or alcohol. Timely initiation of treatment can prevent the onset of rabies symptoms and death.
Rabies virus enters the body of the animal with saliva at the moment when it is bitten by a sick dog. Wild animals can also be carriers of rabies: foxes, hedgehogs, raccoons, squirrels, bats.
A rabid dog is contagious even when the signs of the disease have not yet manifested, and the animal looks healthy.
The main danger is that rabies has an incubation period that is asymptomatic.
After its completion, the virus becomes active and accumulates in saliva.
The scheme of how rabies is transmitted in dogs:
- An infected animal bites a dog.
- Saliva enters the wound, the body becomes infected, and the incubation period begins.
- The virus moves through the cells of the body to the brain.
- In the process of movement, the virus multiplies.
- The causative agent enters the brain, damages it, and then begins to move back, affecting other organs.
- The incubation period ends, symptoms begin to manifest.
A dog can become infected with rabies, even if there is no damage on its body. It is enough that the saliva of a sick animal gets on its mucous membranes: tongue, eyes, nostrils. This can happen when the pets play, gnaw at the same bone, the bitch licks puppies in other cases.
Having become infected, the animal behaves as usual, and it feels great.
The incubation period of rabies in dogs generally lasts from one and a half to three months, but there are cases when symptoms began to manifest much later or earlier.
Duration depends on the following factors:
- bite places
- dog age
- the amount of saliva that has entered the body.
Symptoms will be detected earlier if the wound is on the neck or head. Signs of rabies in adult dogs may appear later than in young puppies. The incubation period quickly ends if there are several wounds on the animal’s body and a large amount of infected saliva enters the body.
The main symptoms of rabies
The disease develops rapidly, it can last from two days to two weeks. It can take a different form, but if you collect all the signs of rabies in a dog together, the list will look like this:
- complete lack of appetite,
- when trying to drink water, it’s difficult for the animal to swallow it,
- laryngeal spasm
- open mouth
- tongue loss
- blurred eyes
- salivation, foamy saliva and its spraying during barking,
- craving for eating strange inedible objects - bricks and stones, sticks, nibbling concrete, plaster, wallpaper, shoes and textile things,
- changing the barking timbre.
Often barking gives way to howls, and after some time the animal may lose its voice completely.
In addition to the listed symptoms, the behavioral symptoms of rabies in dogs can be distinguished:
- depression, desire to hide, hide in a corner and retire,
- irritability - manifests itself in the fact that the pet reacts negatively to the most ordinary things, for example, the knock of the door or the voice of the owner,
- sudden aggression for no reason
- attack for no reason
- fear of the light
- panic fear of sounds and the sight of water.
The behavior of the animal can change dramatically. That dog is scared, it has a persecution mania, and it clogs into a dark corner. After some time, the animal begins to attack, trying to bite even inanimate objects. Immediately, the pet can begin to take hold of the owner, lick his hands and face.
The determination of rabies by these symptoms, especially by the combination of several of them, is always reliable.
The last stage of the disease is accompanied by paralysis. First hind legs fail, then forepaws and trunk. After this, the respiratory system and simultaneously the heart muscle are paralyzed. The death of the animal comes.
It is very important to know what the signs of rabies in dogs are: the behavior of the animal changes, it becomes strange and inadequate, it begins to profuse salivation. However, such symptoms are characteristic of the acute stage of the disease, while an infected animal becomes dangerous much earlier.
Like any other disease, the disease has an incubation period, after which several more stages of rabies in dogs pass. The first symptoms can often not be noticed at the initial stage of the development of the disease.
The incubation period is especially dangerous because it has no clearly visible symptoms. The dog behaves appropriately, there are no disturbances in sleep and appetite, habitual activity remains. Meanwhile, the virus - the causative agent of the disease (it is called a rhabdovirus) has already begun its movement to the brain of the dog. As soon as he reaches his goal, the disease will manifest. This stage usually lasts from 14 to 60 days.
During this period, one can determine for the first time whether a dog has rabies. The animal begins to be capricious, his mood often and suddenly changes - for no apparent reason, it goes from aggression to apathy, from apathy to playful friendliness. Then hallucinations appear. A dog can suddenly attack an enemy that does not exist, bark for no reason, or start digging the ground where it does not exist. In the same period, intolerance to bright light, both solar and artificial, may begin to manifest. This stage is short, usually lasts no longer than a few days (more often limited to a few hours).
This is the most dangerous stage. It is during this period that rabies in a dog is especially pronounced. How to determine its symptoms? The dog disappears a sense of fear, and hallucinations in the truest sense of the word drive him crazy. The animal can no longer swallow saliva, so it flows abundantly down the face. The dog hoarsely barks or howls long.
At this stage, she will no longer recognize well-known people, including the owner. An animal on a leash will try to break free, if it succeeds, it will run away without taking the road and attack everything it encounters. Suddenly, an attack of apathy may occur - the dog at the same time loses all interest in the world around it, there is no reaction to commands, the animal does not drink or eat.
This is the final period, which invariably ends in the death of the animal. The maximum duration is 96 hours. During this period, paralysis progresses, which gradually falls from the head of the animal lower and lower. During this period, the dog is in a depressed state, gradually loses mobility and dies.
Know how to determine if a dog is sick with rabies. It is best to do this in the initial stages - the first or second, when the animal is relatively safe for the owner, because it still remembers it and has not yet lost its mind and sense of fear. Later, the dog is equally dangerous for everyone, for the owner it is even more dangerous than for strangers. This is due to the fact that it is often difficult for the owner to perceive a well-known animal, practically a friend and family member, as a threat to life.
How to detect rabies in a dog after a bite
If the animal is not vaccinated, the chance of infection from the wild is very high. This can either happen on contact or be the result of a bite. It is necessary to carefully monitor the pet, while knowing how to determine rabies. In a dog, it can begin with subtle symptoms, which is why mindfulness is so important. The duration of the very first stage is 2-10 days. These days, the animal will look chandy, which is accompanied by certain symptoms. If one or more of them is found, it is necessary to examine the pet in search of wounds or scratches. If such an injury is detected, consult a doctor immediately. Symptoms of the first stage:
- muscle pain,
- temperature rise,
- loss of appetite,
- fear of the light
- vomiting or diarrhea
- loss of ability to swallow.
It is very important not to miss any of the symptoms in order to have time to turn to specialists in time.
Of great importance is not only knowledge of what rabies is in a dog, how to define it. It is also important to know about ways to prevent it.
There is only one way to prevent rabies in a dog - vaccination. Such a vaccination can be delivered in almost any veterinary clinic. At the time of vaccination, the animal must be absolutely healthy. An appropriate entry will be made in the vaccination passport indicating:
- type of vaccine
- its validity
- vaccination dates.
About two weeks before the scheduled vaccination, the animal needs to be dewormed. The development of stable immunity in the animal's body takes three weeks from the moment of vaccination.
As with any vaccination, rabies vaccination can have side effects that should not scare or surprise the owner of the animal. These include:
- Allergy. May occur within the first fifteen minutes. At this time, the animal should be in the clinic. If signs of allergy appear, the veterinarian should give an injection of an antihistamine.
- Increased salivation and swelling.
- Upset stool.
- Unusual behavior.
- Lumps at the injection site.
If the animal was already infected at the time of vaccination, then the vaccination will accelerate the manifestation of the disease and the death of the dog. Vaccination does not give one hundred percent protection against the disease. There is a chance of infection in the first three weeks after vaccination - during the development of immunity. But even after the end of this period, there is a possibility, although very small, that the animal can become infected.
The frequency of vaccinations may vary. If the dog is decorative or guard - it will be enough to repeat the vaccination every two years. Hunting dogs are required annual vaccinations.
It’s not enough for the owners to know what rabies is in a dog, how to determine it. To be sure of the safety of your pet, you should minimize its contact with homeless and stray animals.
As stated above, rabies is a deadly disease that can be prevented but cannot be cured. Attempts to treat an infected animal are strictly prohibited, as they put a huge risk to the staff of a veterinary clinic, first of all.
If a dog is diagnosed with rabies, it will be euthanized. Thus, the animal will be free from suffering, and those around it will be protected from the risk of infection.
One of the worst pet diseases is rabies in a dog. How to determine its beginning, as well as to prevent infection, every owner should know.
What measures should be taken
If you notice signs of the disease in the dog, the pet must be immediately isolated. We must act quickly, but without fuss:
- Wear a dog collar and leash.
- Take to a separate place. In the apartment it can be a pantry, a loggia or a separate room. In the private sector - an aviary, a barn, any place on the site, preferably under a canopy.
- The dog is firmly tied to a reliable object. Keep in mind that a sick dog at the time of aggression becomes very strong and can break loose. It is necessary to provide for this.
- If the aggression of the animal is pronounced, it is necessary to put a muzzle on it. It is better to let the dog go hungry for several days than you will risk the lives of other people and animals.
- Call your veterinary clinic and report a possible rabies outbreak. The specialist will give recommendations on further actions.
- If the house has a second pet (dog, cat, hamster), they must also be isolated from a sick animal, and from people.
- Do not approach the animal when feeding.
- Monitoring the condition of the dog lasts 10-14 days. During this period, in a sick animal, symptoms usually worsen and death occurs.
If there are no more signs and the dog is alive, then she has another disease with similar symptoms.
In a veterinary clinic, an analysis for rabies in dogs can be done, but the disease can be detected only 7-15 days before the end of the incubation period.
Is rabies treated
The cure for rabies has not yet been invented. When the virus enters the body, irreversible changes occur that cannot be stopped.
Rabies always ends in death. If the disease is confirmed by tests or pronounced signs, then the pet must be euthanized. Do not make him suffer, because the torment will be unbearable.
Euthanizing a sick dog will protect other animals and people from possible infection.
How to help a bitten person
When a dog bites a person, urgent measures must be taken. It is possible to prevent a person’s disease with rabies only if all the procedures are carried out before 10 days have passed since the dog bit him.
A bitten person should contact the emergency room or clinic as early as possible, even if it seems that the dog is healthy.
Negligence and carelessness can lead to infection. Rabies in humans is not treated, and the symptoms are similar to the disease in a dog.
First aid for a bite:
- The wound should be washed as soon as possible with plenty of water, trying to wash out all the dirt and saliva from it. If there is no water supply nearby, you can use a plastic water bottle.
- Wash damaged skin with soap and water, soaping thickly to form a foam. The procedure is carried out 2-3 times.
- Apply a dry sterile dressing to the wound.
- Contact the emergency room for further skin treatment and the implementation of a complex of rabies vaccinations.
- If the damage is deep and extensive, it is advisable to call an ambulance.
Rabies vaccination is carried out according to a special schedule established by a doctor. You should also follow the recommendations on nutrition during the procedure, it has its own characteristics.
You can prevent the disease only if you regularly vaccinate your pet against rabies once a year.
The first vaccination is given to puppies aged two to four months. Then every year, at about the same time, the vaccine is repeated.
If the pet is vaccinated, then infection can occur only in some cases:
- The vaccine has expired or was not stored properly. This can be avoided if you use the services of only reliable, trusted veterinary institutions.
- The animal was already infected at the time of vaccination, and the disease was at the stage of the incubation period.
When walking with a pet, it is advisable to avoid talking with unfamiliar animals, and, noticing a bunch of dogs along the route of the walk, you should bypass it.