What is rabies?
Rabies is an acute, highly fatal infection of the central nervous system which occurs in man and other warm blooded animals. It is especially feared in dogs and is transmitted by bites of affected animals. Rabies is caused by Rhabdo virus, a neurotropic virus which is bullet shaped.

In which animals does rabies occur?
Rabies occur in all warm blooded animals. Highly susceptible animals are dog, mongoose, cat, wolf, fox, vampire bat etc. Moderately susceptible animals are cattle, goat and sheep.

How is rabies transmitted?
Transmission of rabies occur via bite of rabid animals and so direct contact with infected saliva is the main source of infection. 90% of human deaths from rabies are caused by dog bites. Rabies is also transmitted through skin abrasion and cut, mucous membrane being contaminated by infected saliva.. Reports are also there of rabies being transmitted in bat infested caves. Rabid bitch cutting the umbilical cords by its teeth also transmits the virus to its pups.

What are the signs of rabies observed in dogs?
The dog will show one, two, or all of the three different phases.
a. Prodromal phase- It last for 2-3 days in dog. The following signs are observed
~ nervousness, anxious
~fearful or aggressiveness in friendly dogs
~ Lethargy
~ loss of appetite
~ constant licking of the bite site.

b. Furious phase or mad dog - From the prodromal phase the dog enters the furious phase. It usually lasts for 1-7 days. The following signs are observed
~ Excitability and irritability increases
~ inability of swallowing and drooling of saliva
~ in coordination and muscle tremor
~ crave to eat non- edible substances like mud,stone or even their own faeces
~ dilated pupils and altered facial expression
~ change in tone of dogs bark due to paralysis of vocal cord
~ protrusion of tongue and drooping of head in the last part
c. Paralytic phase or dumb form – This is the final phase of rabies in dog. The following signs
are observed
~ paralysis of hind quarters and lower jaw
~ foaming of saliva and saliva remain infective
~ unable to close mouth and foaming of saliva
~ barking ceases, howling due to paralysis of throat muscles
~ hanging jaw due to paralysis of jaw muscles
~ appearance of choking or some things might have stuck in the throat
~ weakness and paralysis, stagger and then comma, death

How is rabies transmitted to human beings?
Rabies is transmitted to human beings by bite of rabid animal. When saliva contaminated by rabies virus comes in contact with fresh wound or break in the skin or mucous membrane then rabies virus are transmitted. Petting an animal, playing with animal and saliva with rabies virus on intact skin will not transmit rabies to human beings.

Diagnosis of rabies-
Diagnosis of rabies can be done by the following
a. History of dog biting by a rabid dog or other animal
b. Symptoms- drooling of saliva, aggressiveness, paralysis and other signs of rabies
c. Keep the dog under observation for 10 days. If it is a rabies affected dog, then it will die within 10 days showing all the symptoms of rabies
d. Smear from hippo campus major and stain with Seller’s stain and find the Negri bodies
e. Animal inoculation test- Inject tissues of brain to rabbit. If positive Negri bodies will appear

f. CFT, FAT, ELISA, PCR and other diagnostic test
Treatment of rabies
There is no specific treatment against rabies. Symptomatic treatment may be given with sedative and narcotic drugs .The bite site should be washed sufficiently with tap water. Apply carbolic acid, nitric acid on the affected part and if not available, apply caustic soda, tr. Iodine, 2% quaternary ammonium compound, 70% alcohol etc. Anti rabies serum should be infiltrated around the wound. If necessary, suturing of the wound after 48 hours otherwise not. Course of antibiotic should be given and also tetanus toxoid should be injected.
Vaccines like Rhaksharab, Rhabdomum, Rabigen vet should be given below 3 months and above. Post bite theraphy- Post exposure vaccination by 0-day , 3rd, 7th, 14th, 28th and 90th day.

How to prevent and control rabies?
a.Rabies vaccination up-to-date for pet dogs and even stray dogs .
b. Sterilization of stray dogs or other methods of birth control
c. If any animal shows unusual behaviour and signs similar to rabies then local health or animal authorities should be informed

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