Rabies fact check

How is rabies caused?

The term ‘rabies’ is a Lain word meaning ‘madness’; it causes acute encephalitis (inflammation of brain) in warm-blooded animals like dogs. This disease is zoonotic as it is transmittable from one species to another through biting by the infected animal, such as from dogs to humans. The virus once gets into the system searches for nerve endings and through it, it traverses to the brain and forms ‘negri bodies’. This is the final stage of inset of rabies. The disease occurs fast if the bite is nearer to the brain like neck, shoulder or upper part of the body.

Symptoms of rabies in dogs

  • Paralysis of neck and throat muscles makes swallowing of fluids difficult. The agony is so acute that the mere sight of water makes the animal fearful and hence the disease is called ‘hydro-phobia.’
  • Profuse salivation
  • Fear-full look
  • Excitement
  • Off-feed
  • Restlessness
  • Charging to walls, poles, etc
  • Tries to bite.
  • In some cases, the animal does not show any symptoms, instead he crouches in a corner. It is called ‘dumb-rabies’. The pet parent should be extra cautions. Consult your veterinarian immediately.

Precautions to humans after bite

  • Wash the wound with soap
  • Apply alcohol or spirit
  • Do not seal the wound
  • Immediately consult your family doctor.

Vaccinate…to avoid

It is always better to vaccinate your pet with anti-rabies vaccination. Contact your veterinarian for the same.

(Dr Asadulla Khan, BVSc, MVSc, runs Aakson Veterinary Clinic in Bengaluru).

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