Rabies is a concerning topic for dog owners. Understanding the signs and symptoms is crucial, but it’s equally important to know how to protect your beloved canine companion. In this informative piece, our team of experienced MOBIVET veterinarians sheds light on rabies in dogs, its symptoms, and preventive measures.
How is Rabies Transmitted?
Rabies is a deadly virus that can infect any mammal, including pets, wildlife, and even humans. Various cases of confirmed Rabies have been reported in Nairobi lately. The transmission occurs through contact with the saliva of an infected animal. Consequently, it’s vital to treat bites, and sometimes even scratches, from wildlife and other animals with the utmost seriousness when they affect your furry friend.
Recognizing Signs of Rabies in Your Dog
At MOBIVET, we get questions like, “What are the signs of rabies in dogs?” Rabies primarily affects the central nervous system, eventually reaching the brain. Watch out for these symptoms:
Sensitivity: Dogs with rabies may overreact to light, sound, or touch.
Excessive Drooling: Increased drooling is a common sign.
Wound Fixation: They may lick or bite the wound site where exposure occurred.
Motor Coordination: Rabies can lead to staggering or falling, eventually resulting in paralysis.
Appetite and Hydration: Loss of appetite and difficulty drinking or eating may occur.
Rabies is almost always fatal. Once symptoms surface, an afflicted animal typically succumbs within 7 to 10 days. If your dog encounters a wild animal, consider a rabies vaccination booster to reduce the risk of infection. If your dog has been exposed, isolate them from the rest of the household (including humans and other pets) and contact your vet immediately.
Regrettably, there is no cure for rabies in dogs once symptoms manifest. In such cases, euthanasia may be necessary to prevent the virus from spreading.
Understanding the Incubation Period
The incubation period represents the time between exposure to the rabies virus and the onset of symptoms. In most instances, dogs display signs of the disease within two weeks of exposure, although symptoms can manifest months later. This underscores the importance of vaccination and closely following advice from your local public health unit if you suspect your dog has been exposed.
It’s worth noting that if your pet is infected with rabies, the virus can be transmitted to other pets and humans up to 10 days before symptoms appear.
Rabies Vaccination: Protection with a Slight Imperfection
While the rabies vaccine is highly effective, it’s not infallible like most vaccines. Nonetheless, it offers substantial protection against the virus. The key here is prevention. It’s much safer for your pet to receive the vaccine than to face the risks associated with rabies, which remains fairly common.
Can Vaccinated Dogs Transmit Rabies?
While the transmission of rabies by a vaccinated dog is unlikely, it’s not impossible. Regardless of vaccination status, any bitten dog must be quarantined for a minimum of 10 days. If the biting animal was infectious at the time, symptoms will appear within 10 days. By confirming your dog’s vaccination record, you can rule out the possibility of rabies transmission. However, if your dog’s vaccinations are not up to date, they may face quarantine or, in extreme cases, euthanasia due to the potential threat. Dogs that have bitten people need to be confined for at least 10 days to monitor for rabies development.
If you are uncertain of the vaccination regime in Kenya, check out the recommended vaccination regime for dogs and cats here.
Testing for Rabies
Diagnosing rabies isn’t straightforward through a blood test. A definitive diagnosis requires a biopsy of brain tissue, which can only be performed post-mortem.
Note: The advice provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional veterinary guidance. To accurately assess your pet’s condition, please schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.
Stay informed, stay protected, and prioritize your dog’s well-being by being vigilant about rabies prevention and seeking professional veterinary advice when necessary.