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Recognizing the Symptoms of Rabies in Animals and the Ways of Transmission

Rabies is a virus that attacks the brain and spinal cord of all mammals, such as dogs, cats and humans. Symptoms of rabies in animals vary depending on the type of animal affected by this disease.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Rabies in Animals and the Ways of Transmission

Causes of Rabies in Animals

Rabies is a disease transmitted by a virus Lyssavirus from class Rhabdoviridae. This virus can enter the body through bite wounds, mucous membranes, or open wounds.

The most common cause of rabies is through contact with wild animals. The pets at highest risk are dogs not vaccinated who often have contact with wild animals or stray dogs and cats.

Any mammal can carry the rabies virus, but the most common transmission of rabies occurs through contact with the following animals:

  1. Bat.
  2. Rabbit.
  3. Raccoon.
  4. Skunk.
  5. Change.
  6. Coyote.
  7. Pet dog.
  8. Cat.

Methods of Transmission of the Rabies Virus in Animals

A study conducted on dogs, cats and ferrets infected with rabies, when the rabies virus is introduced into the muscles through the bite of another animal, the virus moves from the bite site to the brain by moving in the nerves. The animals did not appear sick during the study.

The time between bites and the appearance of symptoms of rabies in an animal is called the incubation period and can last from weeks to months. Bites by animals during the incubation period do not carry the risk of rabies because the virus has not yet reached the saliva.

When the virus reaches the brain and multiplies to cause brain inflammationthe virus moves from the brain to the salivary glands and saliva.

After the virus multiplied in the brain, all the animals started showing the first signs of rabies. At this stage the characteristics of the animal are clear and easy to recognize.

However, in a short period of time—usually within 3 to 5 days—the rabies virus has caused damage to the brain so that it begins to show signs and symptoms of rabies in animals.

Extensive studies in dogs, cats and ferrets have shown that the rabies virus can be excreted in the saliva of infected animals days before the disease becomes apparent.

Also Read: Animal Allergy: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

It should be noted, wild animal species can also secrete the rabies virus in their saliva before signs of disease appear.

Viral excretion may be intermittent and the amount of virus excreted may vary greatly over time; before and after the onset of clinical signs.

The causative factors for rabies vary between transmission and onset of the disease, including the location of transmission, the type of rabies virus, and the immune system of the exposed animal.

Rabies Virus Transmission Route

Transmission of the rabies virus starts from:

  1. An animal bitten by an animal with rabies.
  2. The rabies virus from infected saliva enters the wound.
  3. The rabies virus spreads through the nerves to the spinal cord and brain. This process can take about 3 to 12 weeks. Animals have no signs of disease during the transmission process.
  4. When it reaches the brain, the virus multiplies rapidly and travels to the salivary glands. Animals begin to show signs of disease.
  5. Infected animals usually die within 7 days of becoming sick.

Symptoms of Animals Having Rabies

Clinical signs of rabies in animals vary, depending on the effect on the animal’s brain. Rabies usually causes a sudden change in behavior, followed by progressive paralysis, coma, and death.

Here are some changes in behavior according to the type of animal affected by rabies, including:

1. Dogs and Cats

Rabies cats and dogs can become depressed. Both of these animals can bite when provoked.

In addition, the symptoms of rabies in these animals are characterized by anger with unusual anxiety and biting objects around them.

2. Livestock

Signs of rabies in livestock, including:

  • Depression.
  • Stop producing milk.
  • Salivate.
  • moaned.
  • Increased sexual activity.
  • Attacking animals.
  • Paralyzed, lost balance, unable to get up.
  • Coma and death.

3. Lamb

Symptoms of rabies in sheep usually occur together in a herd. As a result, animals become restless and generally die within about three days.

Also Read: 7 Bloodsucking Animals That Can Be Dangerous to Health

4. Pork

Symptoms of rabies in these animals include abnormal behavior, such as hiding and then biting if provoked, excessive appetite, killing their young, and paralysis.

5. Horse

Horses with rabies can show their anger, and these animals can even be dangerous if you try to approach them.

If the symptoms of rabies in animals develop and do not get treatment, an animal can experience death. However, when handled properly, the symptoms of rabies in animals are easily prevented. So, any possibility of rabies transmission should be treated as a medical emergency.

  1. Anonymous. Rabies in Dogs. (Accessed 13 September 2019)
  2. Anonymous. Rabies In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & Prevention. (Accessed 13 September 2019)
  3. Anonymous. Rabies in Dogs. (Accessed 13 September 2019)
  4. Anonymous. The Path of the Rabies Virus. (Accessed 13 September 2019)

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