As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to make sure that your dog remains healthy throughout its lifespan. One of the most dreaded diseases your four-legged buddy can get is rabies.

This is because once your dog has rabies, it has the potential to pass it on to anyone else it bites. This is an emergency situation that you need to take action on immediately.

What is rabies?

In both humans and dogs, rabies is primarily an infective disease of the brain and spinal cord. The condition is transmitted from other dogs through physical contact, so knowing that your dog has been in contact with a rabid dog should prompt you to seek treatment or prophylaxis for the condition. The virus is most commonly transmitted through biting, so this means that if you find that your dog has unexplained wounds on its body, this should be a good reason for you to take it to the vet. In such cases, the main aim is to ascertain that it’s not infected by a rabid dog.

What are some of the warning signs you need to look out for?

The best way to reduce the risk of rabies becoming complicated and causing illnesses is by knowing what to look out for. By watching out for some of the signs of the disease, you can spot when the dog has been infected early on, which then gives you enough time to get medical help before the condition becomes worse. Some of these signs include:

  • Restlessness: When you notice that your dog is more jittery than usual, you should always have it evaluated by a vet. This is especially so if there is no clear reason why it should behave the way it’s doing.
  • Increased aggression: Most dogs have a baseline level of aggression. If this becomes worse in a short time, it could indicate rabies infection, and you need to get the services of a veterinarian immediately.
  • Fever and irritability: You can tell that your dog has a fever by feeling its body but it would be more accurate if you use a pet thermometer to check the readings.
  • Low activity levels: This is a nonspecific sign of illness, but it’s always a good idea to take the dog to the vet for testing to make sure that it’s not rabies.
  • Biting: When you notice that the dog has an increased tendency to bite or to snap at people, it could be a sign that it’s in the early stages of the infection.

Do also note that the early symptoms usually appear around 10 days after the dog is infected.

What should you do?

When the dog exhibits the above signs, it usually means that rabies (if indeed the dog has rabies) is at an early stage. Making sure that it’s seen by a qualified vet is all you need to do to ensure that the risk of progression of the disease is limited. Some of the signs of a severe stage of contracting rabies include a heightened sensitivity to sound, light, and touch, inability to close the mouth, excessive drooling and heavy breathing. Do not take the chance and let your dog succumb to rabies. Seeing a vet immediately is your best bet to talk to us at Hudson Veterinary Hospital to find out more about rabies.