Rabies Symptoms, Anti Rabies Vaccination and protection

01 May 2013 | by Shilpy | Posted in: Health

Rabies  “Rabies is a viral disease which causes acute encephalitis in warm-blooded animals” (Wikipedia).Rabies can spread from one species to another such as from dogs to humans usually by a bite from a rabid animal.  Rabid animal is an infected animal which has been infected with rabies virus. Rabies can also spread by a scratch from the infected animal. In human beings, this disease can be fatal if the prophylaxis treatment before the commencement of severe symptoms of rabies is not given. Rabies virus affects the central nervous system which eventually results in death of the infected person. (Vaccination Schedule for your dog)

Rabies virus travels to the nervous system through peripheral nervous system. Therefore the time it takes to reach the nervous system is called the incubation period of this disease. It is the time from exposure to until the appearance of symptoms. In humans it is usually few months. Sometimes, the incubation period can be as short as 9 days and sometimes it can be as long as 7 years. These symptoms may take weeks and even months to appear in cats and dogs.

The preventive therapy of rabies is only successful during the incubation period.  It is therefore recommended to administer anti-rabies vaccine as soon as the exposure to rabies virus takes place. Once the symptoms of rabies appear in infected person, the preventive therapy is no longer effective.

Animals which are most susceptible to the rabies - 

Rabies virus infects mammals. Dogs, cats, raccoons, skunks, bats, livestock, woodchucks and bats are some animals which are susceptible to this disease. Rabbits, squirrels and rodents are less vulnerable too this disease as these consumed in eco-system. Domesticated animals like cats, dogs or farm animals can be at greater risk of getting infected with wild animals having rabies infection.

Symptoms of rabies in animals - 

You must avoid wild animals or animals showing abnormal behavior such as excessive friendliness, uncoordinated movements or unprovoked aggression. Wild animals are more likely to have rabies so be aware and maintain distance. If you have a pet, do not leave him unattended at places where there are wild animals. 

Symptoms of rabies in humans - 

Symptoms which may appear in early stage of rabies exposure in humans include fever, headaches and malaise. This may progress to acute pain, uncontrolled movements, hydrophobia and depression. Later, the infected person may experience lethargy which will finally lead to coma. Ultimately the patient dies due to respiratory insufficiency.

Rabies causes about 55,000 human deaths in the world annually1.  Studies indicate that 95% of such deaths occur in Asia and Africa2. A WHO report indicates that in India, approximately 36% of deaths occur annually due to rabies. Rabies is usually difficult to diagnose in initial stages of infection. In animals, it is confused with aggressiveness or certain disease.

Anti-rabies vaccination - 

Prevention of rabies is highly possible if anti-rabies vaccination is given within 10 days of exposure to the rabies virus. Washing the wound as soon as possible for at least 10 minutes reduces the amount of virus particles. You can also use iodine tincture, alcohol after washing the wound. If body’s mucous membranes such as eyes, nose or mouth are exposed, flush with lots of water. The first dose of anti-rabies vaccine is given as soon as possible after exposure. The additional doses are given on 3rd, 7th and 14th days of first dose. If a person has received anti-rabies vaccination previously, he is not given immunoglobulin, only day 0 and day 2 vaccinations are administered in such case.

Taking Care of your pet after exposure - 

First of all, when you have a dog, you must take him to his vet for administering anti-rabies vaccination regularly. Puppies are given anti-rabies vaccination after three months of age. This is the time when their immune system is developing. After one year they are given anti-rabies shots annually. Vaccinating your pet regularly against rabies disease makes the situation of getting bitten by a rabid animal less worrying. As a dog owner, you should also get post-exposure anti-rabies vaccination to help you stay protected in case you are bitten. It will cost you less than having none at all as with a post-exposure vaccine, you need to get a booster when the situation happens, it would cost you less and certainly it will be less painful.

If your pet has accidently been exposed to rabies, you must take some precautions while handling him. If he has been bitten or scratched by any wild animal, you must always wear protective gloves while handling him. Take your pet to a veterinarian. He will examine the wound and prescribe treatment and determine whether or not anti-rabies vaccination is needed. If you are not sure whether your pet has had contact with a rabid animal, despite the fact that he is already vaccinated, take him to the vet as soon as possible.

Some important considerations:

1.    Vaccinate your pet (Dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits) against rabies disease. It is important to keep an updated record of your dog vaccination schedule.

2.    Do not allow your pets to roam outside freely. Keep them under constant vigil when outside. As far as possible, confine them or leash them when outside. This will protect them from being bitten by stray and wild animals. If you find any wild animal with abnormal behavior outside, report the dog shelter authorities. Now-a-days there are animal shelter homes running in every cities.

3.    Do not handle a stray animal. Never keep a stray or wild animal as pet. Vaccinate it properly before you can adopt it. 

4.    It is often seen that people feed stray animals like cats, dogs and even monkeys. You must avoid attracting wild-life near your home. You must avoid attracting wild-life near your home. Do not feed your pet outside. Keep your surroundings free of garbage. Do not welcome stray animals.

5.    When you are planning travel with your pet, check with your vet if vaccination is recommended. Now-a-days it is mandatory to travel with all the vaccinations certificate of your pet while boarding him to a flight. 

One of the main reasons behind the incidence of rabies infection is the lack of awareness about vaccination of pets. We all should be aware about how to avoid rabies exposure and act like a responsible pet owner. Animal vaccination centers or clinics and awareness among community are vital in preventing rabies and improving animal and human health across the world. September 28 is observed as World Rabies Day. The day is observed in order to promote awareness about rabies disease, prevention and its elimination. So make a move, support the drive against rabies!


1, 2 : “Rabies” World Health Organization  2011


gurdev singh
i have a pitbull puppy of 35 days old so what is the perfect time to start the vaccination.........

By: gurdev singh | 17 May 2014

Write a Story
DogSpot - New
Our Policies
  • Shipping & Delivery
  • Refund & Return
  • Replacement
  • Privacy Policy
  • Pricing Information
  • Order Cancellation
  • Terms & Conditions
  • Disclaimer
  • Follow Us:

Views and Articles are not endorsed by DogSpot does not assume responsibility or liability for any Comment or for any claims, damages, or losses resulting from any use of the Site or the materials contained therein. All contributions and Articles are owned by