Rabies Symptoms In Dogs Causes And Treatment

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By Tonny Ingutia

Rabies is a viral disease that has a high mortality rate. It is mostly linked to dog bites. It causes progressive brain and spinal cord inflammation until the patient’s death.

The World Health Organization (WHO) distinguishes two types of rabies disease: furious rabies and paralytic rabies.

“Rabid rabies causes water phobia, hyperactivity, and excitable behavior.” “In some cases, the patient may be afraid of fresh air,” according to the WHO.

Furious usually kills within a few days due to cardio-respiratory arrest.

Paralytic rabies takes a longer time to affect the patient but it also ends fatally. When a patient has this type of rabies, their muscles will gradually become paralysed. This paralysis will start off at the site of the bite or scratch.

This is followed by a coma that ends in death. The WHO cautions that this form of rabies is very easily misdiagnosed, which regularly results in defective treatment methods.

Burden of disease

According to Kenya’s Ministry of Health’s 2014 to 2030 Strategic Plan for the Elimination of Human Rabies, up to 2,000 people die each year from the disease.

As a result, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has designated rabies as one of Kenya’s top five zoonotic diseases.

Rabies kills 60,000 people worldwide. 95 percent of these deaths occur in Africa. According to WHO data, the burden of disease is borne disproportionately by rural poor populations where educational awareness of the disease is low.

An estimated half of cases in rural populations are attributable to children under 15 years of age. 


According to the Ministry of Health (MoH), 98 per cent of all cases of rabies in humans are transmitted by dogs.

“People are usually infected following a bite or scratch by an infected dog. Transmission can also occur when infectious material – usually saliva – comes into direct contact with human mucosa or fresh skin wounds,” MoH says.

“Human-to-human transmission through bite is possible but rare.”

Aside from dogs, it is also possible to become infected after being bitten by an infected mammal, such as a bat.

Certain warning signs may be displayed by an infected animal. According to the Centers for Disease Control, an infected dog may become aggressive and attempt to bite you.

This dog will be aggressive toward other animals as well. You may also notice it drooling more than usual.

“There are also infected dogs and animals that will appear timid and shy and allow you to approach them before lashing out to bite or scratch you,” warns the CDC.

Other warning signs include a dog that appears sickly, has difficulty swallowing, keeps biting at imaginary things, has difficulty moving or appears paralysed, and appears calmer and timid than usual.


According to the CDC, rabies symptoms in animals are similar to those in humans. These symptoms will range from non-specific rabies symptoms to acute neurologic symptoms and death.

According to the CDC, the early symptoms will be similar to those of the flu. Fever, headache, discomfort, and general fatigue will be among them.

The patient may also experience an unexplained tingling, pricking, or burning sensation at the wound site, known as paraesthesia.

“After the early stage, symptoms of rabies are elevated to cerebral dysfunction, anxiety, confusion, and agitation. This is followed by delirium, abnormal behaviour, hallucinations, fear of water, and insomnia.”

These symptoms can last anywhere from two to ten days before the disease kills you. “The chances of survival after clinical rabies are extremely low.” When clinical symptoms of rabies appear, the disease almost always results in death. “At this stage, treatment is mostly supportive,” the CDC says.

Rabies, according to the World Health Organization, spreads to the central nervous system and causes a fatal inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

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Rabies is treated with post-exposure prophylaxis. This treatment method, according to the WHO, is intended to prevent the virus from entering your central nervous system.

To avoid the onset of symptoms or death, this treatment should begin as soon as the bite occurs.

The WHO states that “treatment may include extensive washing and local treatment of the bite wound or scratch, administration of a potent and effective rabies vaccine that meets WHO standards, and administration of rabies immunoglobulin (RIG).”

According to the CDC, a 14-day post-exposure prophylaxis program will include one dose of immune globin and four doses of the rabies vaccine. According to the CDC, “rabies immune globulin and the first dose of rabies vaccine should be given by your health care provider as soon as possible after exposure.”


According to the WHO, the best way to prevent rabies is to eliminate the source of the problem. This entails immunizing your pet against rabies.

This vaccination must be administered on a regular basis as prescribed by a qualified veterinarian. “Rabies is a vaccine-preventable disease that can be avoided by immunizing dogs.” According to the WHO, “this vaccination will reduce dog-related rabies as well as post-dog-bite post-exposure prophylaxis care for the patient.”

If you suspect that your pet is infected, you should consult a qualified veterinarian right away.

“It is critical that you consult your physician immediately if you have been bitten or scratched by an animal for post-exposure prophylaxis medical care,” the WHO advises.

Because children are more likely to be infected by an infected pet, you should teach them how to protect themselves when around new pets and what to do if they are attacked. Some pointers you can give them are as follows:

*Never approach a dog that’s hissing or attempting to peck, scratch or bite.

*Never go near strange dogs. Always stick with other children when near unfamiliar dogs to avoid accidental scratches, bites or pecks.

*Never feed a dog with their bare hands.

*Avoid touching or rattling a dog until it has seen or become familiar with you.

*Always report when scratched or bitten by a dog

*If they want to play with your dog, they must first get permission from you or the dog’s guardian.

*Always ask how friendly the dog is.

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