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Rabies: symptoms, vaccinations, treatment [veterinarian's instructions

Rabies is one of the oldest viral diseases known to mankind.

Observation of the dog for rabies

Already Aristotle, 300 years before Christ, wrote about this strange disease. It was also she who had a great influence on the emergence of vaccinology - the science of vaccines, when in the 19th century the. Ludwik Pasteur proved that the vaccine he created immunizes against the virus. However, despite such a long history, the slogan "rabies" still scares us.

Why is it like that? What is rabies?

You will find the answers to these questions in this article.

  • What is rabies?
  • Rabies in Poland
  • How is rabies transmitted?
  • How can you get infected with rabies?
  • How is the development of rabies?
  • Rabies symptoms
    • Character silent rabies
    • Form of violent rabies
  • Rabies in humans
  • Rabies in a dog
    • Introductory phase
    • Irritation phase
    • The shock phase
  • Rabies in a cat
    • Rabies in a cat symptoms
  • How to recognize rabies?
  • Rabies treatment
  • What to do after being bitten by an unvaccinated animal?
  • What to do if your unvaccinated dog bites?
  • Vaccination against rabies
    • Vaccinate your dog against rabies
    • Vaccinating your cat against rabies
  • Vaccinate against rabies before going abroad

What is rabies?

Rabies. rabies) is a viral disease caused by an RNA virus, the so-called. Lyssavirus, of the Rhabdoviridae family. Rabies is one of the most deadly anthropozoonoses (or diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans) in the world.

The World Health Organization estimates that about 60 thousand. people, mainly from the areas of Africa, Asia and South America.

Rabies virus | source: wikipedia

It is estimated that in India, where the problem is most serious, what 1 person dies in 30 minutes due to infection.

Why is it like that?

India is the country with the most homeless, unattended animals. Compulsory vaccination programs are practically non-existent there. Interestingly, on the other hand, some countries are considered completely free of rabies.

Rabies-free countries include:

  • Australia,
  • Belgium,
  • Chile,
  • Czech Republic,
  • Greece,
  • Greenland,
  • Ireland,
  • Iceland,
  • Japan,
  • Nicaragua,
  • New Zealand,
  • Norway,
  • Malaysia,
  • Sweden,
  • Switzerland,
  • Panama,
  • Portugal,
  • Uruguay.

These countries achieved this status because either rabies never reached them (Malaysia) or they were provided with it by long-term prevention programs (vaccinations, removal of sick animals).

The risk of rabies infection in the world 2013 | source: world health organization

When going abroad with your pet, be sure to check local laws as they can be extremely restrictive.

Rabies in Poland

The last case rabies in man in Poland reported in 2002 - death of a 28-year-old man (voiv. Subcarpathian Voivodeship). There was no information about the bite of the animal in the interview, 18 days elapsed from the first symptoms of the disease to death.

On the other hand, the first fatal human case of rabies after 14 years in Poland took place in 2000. A 59-year-old resident of the voivodship died of rabies. Warmia and Mazury, bitten on the fingertip by her own cat. The woman died after a month of brooding the disease. None of the people who contracted rabies underwent prophylaxis.

As you can see, the risk of getting infected with rabies in our country is relatively low. In my opinion, you should be more concerned about wild animals, such as foxes, martens and wild cats. Domestic cats or dogs pose a negligible threat.

How is rabies transmitted?

How is rabies transmitted? That there is an infection rabies virus there must be direct contact with saliva be brain tissue sick animal. Interestingly, scientists have recently discovered that it is possible, although rare in humans, airborne infection (drip and dust) aerosol of bat faeces in caves. Why bats? They are currently one of the most common "spreaders" of this dangerous disease.

Other wild animals that can transmit Lyssavirus include:.in.:

  • foxes,
  • martens,
  • raccoon dogs
  • other carnivores,
  • rodents,
  • lagomorphs.
Bats are one of the most common carriers of rabies

When it comes to pets such as cats and dogs, widespread vaccination has reduced their incidence of the disease.

Only wild cats or dogs can pose a threat.

How can you get infected with rabies?

As I mentioned before, it is dangerous for you and your pet contact with the saliva of an infected animal.

So, there must be a bite, but in some cases it is enough to lick the injured skin, mucous membranes.

How is the development of rabies?

The virus attacks the nervous system, trying to reach the spinal cord and the brain as quickly as possible.

Interestingly, the speed at which the disease develops depends on where the virus entered the body and on our immunity.

Once the head and neck are infected, the virus will reach its target faster and the disease will be more violent.

In some cases, the disease only makes itself felt after 6-8 weeks, in others it is already after 2-3 weeks.

Infected nerve cells cease to perform their functions, and the spread of inflammation and degeneration wreaks irreversible havoc on the nervous system.

Reading on, you will learn what the most important symptoms of rabies are and how you can recognize it in your pet.

Rabies symptoms

Rabies in a dog | source: wikipedia

We can distinguish two forms of the disease.

Character silent rabies

IN the form of silent (paralytic) rabies the disease affects the spinal cord.

In this form, the animal does not show any symptoms of the disease for a long time.

It is only after a long time that the limbs are paralyzed - the dog or cat cannot walk, they are paralyzed.

After some time, the respiratory muscles are paralyzed and the pet dies.

Form of violent rabies

IN form of mad rabies the disease attacks the brain.

In this form of the disease, the following stages are distinguished:

  • trailer,
  • agitation (irritation),
  • paralysis.

In sick animals, the following can be observed:

  • no interest in eating and drinking,
  • in domestic animals, unnatural behaviors such as timidity and running away,
  • in wild animals, loss of timidity in front of humans, and change of lifestyle from night to day.

The following may appear:

  • itching at the bite site,
  • dilated pupils,
  • squint.

Then aggressiveness increases - the animal can attack objects or a person, eat inedible objects and make unnatural sounds.

This stage of excitation is followed by the stage of paralysis with impaired coordination of movements, convulsions, paralysis of the mandibular muscles with prolapse of the tongue and drooling.

The limb muscles are also affected (swimming movements may occur) and the respiratory muscles, and death occurs.

Rabies in humans

What are the symptoms of rabies in man?

In humans, the first symptoms of rabies are tingling and burning sensation in the place where the infection took place, i.e. exactly where the sick animal bit or licked us.

An arm, a leg, or any other part of the body begins to feel numb and hurt.

Usually the wound has long since healed, so we don't associate it with a bite.

It comes to this bad mood, insomnia or increased sleepiness and low fever - just like with the ordinary flu.

He is sick agitated, has hydrophobia.

Some people react nervously to the slightest gust of air (aerophobia).

The disease progresses quickly, health worsens almost hour by hour.

The excitation can progress to seizures.

They appear over time paresis and paralysis.

Eventually, the muscles of the respiratory system are paralyzed and suffocated.

It usually passes from the first symptoms to death only a week


Rabies in a dog

The rabies incubation period in a dog is from 7 to 150 days (most often around 30 days).

Rabies symptoms in a dog

Rabies symptoms in a dog | source: wikipedia

Introductory phase

  • Change of behavior - timidity towards the owner, attacking known objects, often the owners describe it as "this is not my dog, there is some other ",
  • agitation, frenzy,
  • general symptoms such as itching, pain at the site of the bite, licking,
  • high temperature,
  • diarrhea,
  • vomiting,
  • decrease in appetite,
  • reluctance to drink,
  • anxiety, dogs "can't find a place ".

Irritation phase

  • The dog becomes very aggressive,
  • he is dazed and dull,
  • eats things like stones, walls, sticks,
  • you may also be biting yourself,
  • hyperactivity,
  • hypersensitivity to sounds,
  • fear of water,
  • attacking things that are not there,
  • hallucinations,
  • I do not feel pain,
  • aphasia, incoherence of movements.

The shock phase

  • Muscle paralysis occurs,
  • incoherence of movements,
  • the dog staggers,
  • frothy saliva is leaking from his mouth,
  • His tongue is hanging down, his neck is stiff,
  • is absent,
  • eventually the respiratory muscles become paralyzed and die.

Rabies in a cat

The incubation period for rabies in a cat is from 10 to 260 days (most often around 30 days).

Rabies in a cat symptoms

Rabies in a cat symptoms

Introductory (prodromal) phase

  • Change of behavior (cat "miziak " runs away from man, "savage " rubs against legs),
  • change of temperament (a calm habit the cat is agitated, energetic and apathetic),
  • fever,
  • diarrhea in a cat,
  • vomiting in a cat,
  • need for solitude,
  • reluctance to eat and drink,
  • a pitiful meow may appear,
  • itching in the cat and pain at the site of the invasion - the cat may lick itself intensely locally, even bite itself severely,
  • anxiety,
  • timidity or exuberance.

Irritation phase

In this phase, the virus spreads from the salivary glands into the animal's saliva and can infect others.

It is usually 2-3 days of symptomatic rabies.

The anxiety turns into aggression in the cat.

  • The cat cannot find a place for itself, it wanders aimlessly, sometimes they are long distances,
  • confusion,
  • self-mutilation,
  • eating strange things may occur - stones, metal things, sticks,
  • there is considerable psychomotor agitation,
  • strong hypersensitivity to stimuli: light, sound of water (hydrophobia), wind noise, gusts of air (areophobia) cause convulsions,
  • the cat does not recognize its guardian, it is becoming more and more crazed and aggressive,
  • in a frenzy it can attack non-existent objects,
  • it is insensitive to pain stimuli,
  • is fearless when biting e.g. cage bars can even break teeth,
  • aphasia (lack of musculoskeletal coordination) appears, incoherence usually progresses from the hind legs, the cat walks staggering,
  • profuse drooling,
  • there are periods of apathy.

The shock phase

It usually takes 3-4 days.

IN quiet rabies occurs without the irritation phase.

In this phase, there is progressive paralysis of the muscles and eventually death due to the disappearance of physiological reflexes and respiratory failure.

  • There is a significant weakening,
  • hanging tongue - the animal is unable to hide it in the mouth,
  • foamy saliva flows from the mouth (looks like foam),
  • palsy of cranial nerves and forebrain - limited reflexes with eyelids, strabismus, anisocoria, no reaction to light,
  • neck stiffness - the cat's head hangs down and the lower jaw is lowered,
  • progressive disturbance of consciousness,
  • choking symptoms,
  • choking due to progressive respiratory failure,
  • coma,
  • death.

Death takes place after about a week from the onset of clinical symptoms.

How to recognize rabies?

Currently there are no life tests to this terminal disease. If the doctor suspects that the animal is sick, the case must be reported to the District Veterinary Doctor. The latter, however, can order 15-day quarantine pet or post-mortem examination of the brain. Only this study gives us confidence that the animal was a carrier of this terrible virus.

Rabies treatment

Is rabies curable in animals?

Unfortunately not, because in Poland animals suffering from rabies must not be treated. There is also no specific drug for rabies.

Remember that a man infected with rabies is also a very serious threat to the environment, because there is a lot of virus in his saliva. Hence, treatment of people should take place in closed intensive care units.

What to do after being bitten by an unvaccinated animal?

What to do after being bitten by an unvaccinated animal?

Report to a doctor as soon as possible. He will probably recommend vaccination or administration of a specific antiserum.

The scheme of such vaccination includes 5 doses, according to the scheme:

  1. 0 (bite day),
  2. 3rd day
  3. 7th day
  4. 14th day
  5. 28 day.

The vaccine doses are identical for children and adults. Rabies vaccine is given intramuscularly in the shoulder or in children in the thigh, contrary to the legend of painful vaccinations in the belly. Importantly, people who are exposed to contact with wild or unvaccinated animals, or people who often travel to countries where the risk of getting infected with rabies is higher, can get vaccinated earlier. So if you are planning a vacation in India, consider such a vaccination.

It consists of three doses according to the schedule:

  1. 0 day
  2. 7th day
  3. 28 day.

According to the WHO organization:

  1. 0 day
  2. 7th day
  3. 21 or 28 days.

A supplemental dose is administered 12 months later, and in order to ensure the continuity of protection, every 5 years a booster dose should be given. Three doses of vaccine should be ingested at least 3 weeks before the planned departure.

Post-exposure vaccination in an immunized person (vaccinated within the last 5 years) consists of two doses:

  1. on the bite day,
  2. 3 days later.

What to do if your unvaccinated dog bites?

Upon notification of such a fact, the animal should be subjected to treatment observation for rabies. Observation for rabies consists of a clinical examination on the first, fifth, tenth and fifteenth day after the bite. On the last day, if the animal showed no disturbing symptoms, vaccination takes place.

Vaccination against rabies

What does the rabies vaccination look like and how much does the rabies vaccine cost?

Vaccinate your dog against rabies

Vaccinate your dog against rabies

In Poland, compulsory vaccinations are included only dogs.

According to the letter of the law, the owner is one month after the puppy is finished 3 months life, to bring the dog to vaccination.

The price of vaccinating a dog against rabies is around PLN 30-60 depending on the city, the cost of the vaccine is borne by the owner.

It is also obligatory to vaccinate the dogs every year.

Vaccinating your cat against rabies

It is different with cats.

Vaccinating the purrs it is not obligatory in Poland and depends on your will.

However, if your kitten is an outgoing, hunting cat - I recommend vaccinating it against rabies.

The first rabies vaccination should be done when the kitten is approx 16 weeks, and the next, each year be what 2 years.

If the cat is not in contact with other pets, it does not go beyond the walls of the house, in my opinion vaccination is not necessary.

Remember that any injection in a cat carries a risk of developing post-vaccination sarcoma. You can learn more about them in the article "Cancer after vaccination in a cat: injection sarcoma "

We also resign from vaccinating dogs or cats in the case of chronic diseases or allergic reactions to the vaccine.

Post-vaccination immunity fully develops after approx 3 weeks.

Before vaccination, remember about deworming pet.

Vaccinate against rabies before going abroad

Vaccination before departure

If you are planning a trip to EU countries, the matter is simple. All you have to do is get your pet a passport (interestingly enough, this is the duty of owners of dogs, cats and ferrets). To do this, the dog or cat must be tagged with a chip and vaccinated against rabies, and this fact must be confirmed by an entry in the passport.

Importantly, his first departure is possible only after 21 days from vaccination. This quarantine also applies to animals in which we missed the vaccination date. So if a dog or cat has a vaccine valid until November 21, 2016, we are required to have it vaccinated by that date.

In this case, there is also no division into species. Both the dog and the cat must be vaccinated annually.

The matter becomes more complicated in the case of the so-called. third countries. Some of them require anti-rabies antibody testing. This test is a laboratory test of blood, and its cost is around PLN 300.

What other requirements must be met before going abroad with your pet, you will learn from the article "Going abroad with your dog / cat. What you need to remember? "

In summary, rabies is a terrible, deadly disease. Therefore, if you are the owner of a (especially outgoing) pet, please: remember to vaccinate it annually.

I also encourage you to read the article: "Pseudo rabies ".

Sources used >>

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