It’s important to detect rabies symptoms early on. Rabies is a deadly virus with only a small chance of survival. Learning the various warning signs of rabies in dogs is vital. That way you can implement precautions, prevent transmission of the virus, and treat the disease earlier. Once the symptoms develop and progress, the disease is always fatal.
Watch Out For These Rabies Symptoms In Dogs
A fever in dogs means one thing – an infection. The rabies virus triggers an immune response in the body. The body responds by releasing white blood cells to target and kill the pathogens. Most dogs infected with rabies have high fever, which shows the body is responding to the viral infection.
One of the first rabies symptoms in dogs is fatigue or the feeling of tiredness. It’s quite normal for an infection to cause fatigue. In most cases, dog owners may first notice the presence of an illness when the dog manifests low energy, lethargy, and fatigue.
Vomiting is another one of the rabies symptoms in dogs. It causes dehydration, which is potentially fatal for dogs. Also, dogs who are infected with rabies secrete large amounts of the virus in their saliva. Since the vomitus passes by the mouth, the virus could come in contact with the food particles.
If the saliva or anything that has the dog’s saliva touches an open wound or a skin opening, the virus can be transmitted. It can be life-threatening if a human comes in contact with the virus, especially if he or she doesn’t get treated immediately.
4. Excessive Drooling
Excessive drooling is a hallmark of rabies in dogs. Drooling is normal among dogs because they need saliva to help lubricate the food and it helps aid in the digestive process.
However, in rabies, the dog’s jaw or throat becomes paralyzed, making swallowing extremely difficult. This may lead to excessive drooling. One of the other rabies symptoms in dogs is the inability to drink or eat, which is also because of paralysis.
As mentioned earlier, the saliva contains high levels of the virus. If the saliva comes in contact with a wound or opening on the skin, it might lead to the transmission of the virus. The primary mode of transmission of rabies is through a dog bite.
5. Odd Or Erratic Behavior
Dogs who are infected with the rabies virus may act differently and strangely. Erratic behavior in dogs may include aggression, biting or snapping at things (caused by hallucinations), self-harm or self-mutilation (biting, licking, gnawing or chewing an infected wound), unsteady gait or disorientation, irritability, and eating unusual items.
Dogs manifest the symptoms differently. Some dogs may become aggressive and jumpy, while others may manifest paralytic symptoms, also known as “dumb rabies”. In this type of rabies infection, the dog appears weak, lethargic, and lacks coordination.
6. Sensitivity To Light, Touch, And Sound
Dogs with rabies tend to have increased sensitivity to light, touch, and sound. One of the most notable rabies symptoms in dogs is photophobia or sensitivity to light. Dogs with photophobia squint more often. Some dogs hold their eyelids closes. On the other hand, sensitivity to touch and sound are harder to detect since your dog may be acting weird already.
7. Progressive Warning Signs
It is important to detect rabies symptoms in dogs early on. However, if the viral infection progresses into the advanced stages, there are signs and symptoms the dog owner may notice. These include:
- Jaws hang open
- Difficulty breathing or heavy breathing
- Hiding in dark places
- Choking sounds
- Paralysis of the hind legs
- Foaming at the mouth
- Lack of coordination
- Loss of throat control
- Fear of water (hydrophobia)
- Dilated pupils
Detecting the early symptoms of rabies in dogs is important. This will pave the way for early treatment of the disease and implementation of precautionary measures to prevent the transmission of the infection to humans. Rabies is fatal to both dogs and humans. The good news is, it’s preventable thanks to vaccines available today. Talk with your veterinarian about your dog’s rabies vaccine schedule.
Are you now familiar with the rabies symptoms in dogs? Let us know in the comments section below.