Rabies causes acute encephalitis in animals and people (rabies means "rage" in latin). In unvaccinated humans, rabies is almost always fatal once symptoms have expressed completely. However, post-exposure vaccination can prevent symptoms from developing.
When one thinks of the symptoms of rabies, a stereotypical image of an infected ("rabid") animal is a "mad dog" foaming at the mouth, but most mammals can become rabid, including cats, rabits, raccoons, skunks, foxes and wolves. Rabies may also present in a so-called 'paralytic' form, rendering the infected animal unnaturally quiet and withdrawn.
After a typical human infection by animal bite, the virus enters the nervous system. It then travels along the nerves towards the central nervous system. During this phase, there are no readily apparent rabies symtpoms.
The period between infection and the first flu-like symptoms is normally three to twelve weeks, but can be as long as two years. Soon after, the symptoms expand to cerebral dysfunction, anxiety, insomnia, confusion, agitation, abnormal behaviour, hallucinations, and progressing to delirium.
The production of large quantities of saliva and tears coupled with an inability to speak or swallow are typical during the later stages of the disease; this is known as "hydrophobia".
Death almost invariably results 2-10 days after the first symptoms; the handful of people who are known to have survived the disease were all left with severe brain damage.
Posted by Staff at June 9, 2005 8:38 AMblog comments powered by Disqus
my dog has had drainage from his eyes for the last 3-4 wks and today i noticed that hes drooling real bad now im intinadated of him and hes only 4 months old im scared that he might have rabies. hes always been full of enery and barks when he plays. maybe im just over worried but i love the little guy so im taking him to the vet tomorrow if he is still drooling tomorrow. thanks.
Posted by: kory at November 30, 2006 4:45 AM