Rabies is a deadly disease that can be transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected animal.
It has been around for a very long time and causes the death of almost 60,000 people a year across the world.
Children are particularly affected by it with round 40% of people bitten being children aged under 15 years old.
When we think of how do dogs get rabies we should understand that infections can pass between animals as well as from animals to people.
What is rabies?
Rabies is a viral disease that causes swelling of the brain. The virus is neurotropic.
This means it disrupts the nervous system and eventually causes inflammation of the brain which leads to death.
The first symptoms are often fever and tingling, which progress to violent and jerked body movements, unnatural excitement, confusion, aggression, clumsiness, disorientation, and increased dribbling.
Dogs may also exhibit unusual behaviors such as developing an intense fear of water, biting, running away, and swallowing random objects.
The incubation period of rabies can vary from between a week to over a year.
This difference is determined by the length of time it takes for the virus to travel from the initial bite site to the brain via the spinal cord.
It can take up to a year for symptoms to show, but once they do appear the disease most often results in death.
Total paralysis of the body including the respiratory system is the most common cause of death and usually begins with the locking of the animal’s jaws.
After the onset of any of these symptoms, no treatment is effective, and the animal must be euthanized.
If treated early enough animals can successfully recover from the virus.
How do dogs get rabies?
The rabies virus can be carried by a number of mammals including foxes, raccoons, jackals, and other wild carnivores.
It is the saliva of an animal that contains the rabies virus.
Therefore, the disease can also be transmitted to other mammals through licking and scratching.
The virus can be transmitted to humans and other animals before any symptoms appear in the carrier mammal.
Transmission of rabies from humans to humans is extremely rare and although it may have happened in isolated places, there are no documented and studied cases on record.
Rabies is a very fragile virus and cannot survive for long periods of time outside of the body.
It is also very sensitive to light, heat, and oxygen. Considering this, how do dogs get rabies is unlikely due to the sharing of chew toys or other objects between dogs and other animals.
Although objects that have been handled by an animal with rabies will only be dangerous and contaminated for a short time, it is important not to allow other animals to use them until they have been thoroughly cleaned and dried.
Prevention of the virus
Vaccination is a very effective way to protect dogs against rabies. Vaccinations protect your dog against killer diseases.
they are likely to be a requirement if your dog goes into boarding kennels or travels abroad with you.
Contact your local vet to make sure your pet is up to date with their relevant vaccinations to make sure they are kept safe from deadly diseases.
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