Rabies in dogs - Symptoms, contagion and treatment


In this article we are going to show you how to know if a dog has rabies. Rabies is a very dangerous viral disease that not only affects dogs, but all mammals, including us. Therefore, that a dog gets rabies is not only danger to himself, but to everyone else who lives with him. We show you what are the first symptoms of rabies in dogs.

Symptoms of a dog with rabies

When the disease is already more advanced, The symptoms of a dog with rage evolve and may have trouble sleeping and have hypersensitivity to stimuli that were previously indifferent, such as normal noise or light. This phase is called furious rage and can conclude with the dog's death.

Not always, rabies in dogs presents another stage, in which your neck and head muscles are paralyzed. It causes them to have Open mouth permanently as they cannot move the jaw. They also have great difficulty swallowing and their saliva falls constantly. If this paralysis affects the diaphragm, the dog dies asphyxiated.

The best prevention for rabies in dogs is to vaccinate your pets. We hope this article on how to know if a dog has rabies will help you understand the disease and identify its symptoms. If you observe any and suspect that your dog may have contracted rabies, do not hesitate to go to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

What is canine rabies?

The term "rage" comes from the adjective in Latin Rabidus, which is translated as "delusional", "furious" or "fierce", due to the characteristic behavior of animals that suffer from this pathology, which show aggressive behavior.

As we have advanced in the introduction, rabies is caused by a family virus Rhabdoviridae, which mainly affects the central nervous system (CNS), spreading and accumulating in large quantities in the dog's salivary glands, which cause excessive production of saliva, infected with the virus. This disease is present in the infected animal and can last in the carcasses of deceased animals for up to 24 hours.

Forms of contagion of rabies in dogs

The Rage it is usually spread by bite of an infected animalHowever, it can also be transmitted through saliva, for example if the animal licks an open wound, or if they occur scratches in certain areas, such as mucous membranes. However, these are rare situations.

Do not forget that this disease can affect the human being in case of a bite, so it is so important to make an adequate preventive medicine plan and inform us about the symptoms and forms of infection, with the aim of guaranteeing the health of the dog, of other domestic animals and that of the guardians themselves.

Causes of rabies in dogs

Dogs are considered the main carriers from rabies, those dogs that have not been vaccinated and those that come into contact with wild animals, such as foxes and bats, are vulnerable. However, the most common form of infection is by biting domestic mammals, like cats, dogs and rabbits.

Direct contact with the skin (without wounds), blood, urine or feces is not a risk factor, except in bats, however, it is rare for domestic animals to come into contact with these small mammals.

Currently, attempts are made to control rabies in countries around the world, focusing on prevention in dogs and cats, thanks to vaccination campaigns and multiple protection measures. However, rabies remains a frequent pathology that appears in a timely manner, even in countries where it is practically eradicated.

Phases of rabies in dogs

To understand the progress of the canine rabies virus, it is essential to pay attention to the phases of this pathology. During the bite, the virus present in saliva enters the body and it is installed inside muscles and tissues, while it multiplies in that place.

Then, the virus begins to spread through the surrounding structures, usually those closest to the nervous tissue, since it is a neutropic virus, that is, it has an affinity for nerve fibers. It is important to note that it does not use blood as a means of diffusion.

The dog rage presents several phases:

  • Incubation: refers to the period from the bite to the appearance of the first symptoms. At this stage the dog seems to be fine and is asymptomatic, that is, it has no symptoms of disease. We talk about a phase that can last from one week to several months.
  • Prodromal: At this stage the dog begins to manifest the incipient symptoms of the disease, showing more nervous, scared, anxious, tired and even withdrawn. It can last from 2 to 10 days.
  • Aggressiveness: This is the phase that characterizes rabies disease. The dog becomes irritable, excessively, even biting its owners. It is a high risk stage.
  • Paralysis: is the final stage of rage. In it the dog is paralyzed and can have spasms and even go into a coma, until death occurs.

Now that you know the phases of canine rabies, we will explain what are the symptoms of rabies in dogs, fundamental to the suspicion that our dog may be infected.

Symptoms of rabies in dogs

The canine rabies virus has a long incubation period, which can range between three and eight weeks, although in some cases it can be even more extensive, which is why it is not always detected quickly. In humans, for example, symptoms usually appear around 3 and 6 weeks after the bite.

The symptoms of this condition mainly affect the SNC and at brain, and although the phases mentioned above usually occur, not all symptoms are always manifested, which is why it is so important to be aware of the signs that indicate that our dog may be sick.

Here we show you rabies symptoms in dogs more common:

  • Fever
  • Aggressiveness
  • Irritability
  • Apathy
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive salivation
  • Photophobia (aversion to light)
  • Hydrophobia (water aversion)
  • Difficulty to swallow
  • Face paralysis
  • Seizures
  • General paralysis

Anger easily confused with other neurological diseases and, therefore, it is always necessary to consult with a veterinarian before the appearance of any of the symptoms of rabies in mentioned dogs, or if we suspect that our dog may have come into contact with an infected animal.

How to know if my dog ​​has rabies?

If you suspect that your dog may have been bitten by a stray dog, a homeless cat or come into contact with a carrier wild mammal, you may want to find out how to know if a dog has rabies. Pay attention to the next step by step:

  1. Look for wounds or bite signs: This disease is usually transmitted through saliva, so if your dog has fought with another dog or pet you should, look immediately the wounds that could have caused him.
  2. Pay attention to possible symptoms: Although during the first phase no obvious signal is manifested, after a few weeks after the bite the dog will begin to show strange behaviors and, although they are not symptoms that can confirm the transmission, they can alert you. Remember that dogs may have muscle aches, fever, weakness, nervousness, fear, anxiety, photophobia or loss of appetite, among other symptoms. In a more advanced stage, your dog will begin to show a furious attitude that is the most characteristic of the disease and that gives it the name "rage." The symptoms you will present will be that of excessive salivation (It can present the typical white foam with which the disease is related), an uncontrollable desire to bite things, excessive irritability (before any stimulus the dog will become aggressive, growl and try to bite us), loss of appetite and hyperactivity. Some less common symptoms may be lack of orientation and even seizures.
  3. Advanced phases: If we have not paid attention to the previous symptoms and we have not taken the dog to the veterinarian, the disease will enter the most advanced stage, although there are dogs that do not even suffer them, because before they are euthanized or die. At this stage the dog's muscles will begin to paralyze, from their hind legs to the neck and head. He will also be lethargic, continue to foam white mouth, bark abnormally and have difficulty swallowing due to muscle paralysis.

Quarantine for rage

In Spain there is a action protocol before the bites or aggressions of domestic animals, with the objective of minimizing the risk of contagion towards other animals and people. A study on the case is made, an initial evaluation is carried out and the animal is kept under observation during a 14 day period, essential to ensure that the mammal was not infective at the time of aggression, even if it did not show symptoms of rabies in dogs.

Then, if the animal has tested positive, a investigation period 20 day epidemiological. In addition, there are several levels of alert according to the presence of rabies in the territory, let's talk about domestic and terrestrial animals, which include some methods of action or others.

Diagnosis of rabies in dogs

Formerly, the diagnosis of rabies in dogs was made through a direct staining test for fluorescent antibodies (DFA) by analyzing brain tissues, thus showing viral agents. For this, the euthanasia of the dog was necessary, however, today, if a case of rabies is suspected in the dog or the appearance of rabies symptoms in dogs, the veterinarian can proceed to animal isolation and initiate a series of serological tests that confirm or not the presence of the virus, such as Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)

Before the death of the animal or confirmation of rabies, DFA is performed during necropsy to conduct an epidemiological investigation of the rabies case.

Treatment of rabies in dogs

Unfortunately, Canine rage has no cure or treatment, because the intensity of the symptoms of rabies in dogs and their rapid spread cause the exact death of the animal, however, it is possible to prevent the spread of this pathology by vaccinating the dog. Therefore, before an infected animal the veterinarian will advise us to proceed to euthanasia of the dog, with the aim of avoiding animal suffering and possible contagion.

We remember that after the bite of an infected animal we are exposed to human rabies, for that reason it is vital to wash the wound with soap and water and go to a medical center as soon as possible to receive promptly the rabies vaccine.

How to prevent rabies in dogs?

By strictly following the vaccination schedule of the dog we can prevent our dog from suffering from this terrible deadly disease. Generally the first dose around 16 weeks and, annually, a reinforcement so that the dog's organism remains active against the virus. Likewise, even before the appearance of the first symptoms of rabies in dogs, if we have observed that our dog has been bitten by another dog or wild animal we must go to the vet.

How long does a dog live with rage?

It is not possible to determine exactly how long a dog lives with rabies since the incubation phase it can vary greatly depending on the location and severity of the bite. For example: the virus transmitted by a deep bite in the paw will spread much faster than in a superficial wound in the tail.

We should know that the life expectancy of a dog with rage is relatively short, as it can vary between 15 and 90 days, being shorter still in puppies. Likewise, once the CNS is affected and after an obvious manifestation of rabies symptoms in dogs, the death of the dog occurs between 7 and 10 days.

In any case, if you suspect that your dog may suffer from rabies go to your veterinarian as soon as possible to properly isolate the animal, do the relevant tests and thus avoid the risk of spreading to other animals and to people through Euthanasia.

This article is purely informative, at we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Rabies in dogs - Symptoms, contagion and treatment, we recommend that you enter our section of infectious diseases.

Symptoms of rabies in humans from dog bites

Rabies is a disease that can be spread to humans and all mammals. The group of people most affected by this disease are the volunteers who take care of the dogs in the shelters or in the shelters. Rabies is relatively common in abandoned dogs, since although they have received a vaccine a few months after birth It is to be effective if it is not renewed.

If the abandoned dog has been bitten by another or has shared saliva with it, it can catch the disease, which in turn can be contracted by a human through the same process. The rabies virus endures up to a whole day in a dog's body even if it is dead and even has some resistance in the air. For this reason we must take precautions if we find a dog in the street or if we decide to collaborate with a power plant, so it is essential to know the symptoms of this disease.

Symptoms of rabies in a dog

Recognizing a dog with rage is relatively easy if you know that it develops in three phases. The first is one in which your colleague changes his character, is sullen, disoriented, trembles and is nervous, even he seems to be afraid of you. If you have no reason to appear scared, if there is no environmental or behavioral explanation for it, you have to examine your body for a bite-shaped wound to suspect that it does have rabies.

The next phase is the easiest to recognize and responds to the most popular description of this disease. Your colleague will be very aggressive, violent and will behave as if he didn't know you. Rabies virus affects the brain causing aggressiveness, which is why he behaves like this.

Finally, the disease will paralyze your body until it finally takes your life. If you see any of these symptoms of rabies in a dog you encounter on the street, take care to interact with himThe best thing you can do is call a protector to take care of the relevant care.

Is there treatment for rabies, does it have a cure?

The reality is no. If you see a dog with rage in the street you will not be able to save him, so you run the risk of getting it. Again, in this case you have to ask for professional help. What you have to do to stop this evil in your colleague is to resort to vaccination because the only effective remedy against it. Rabies comes from a virus, the vaccine trains your dog to face him in case of infection, therefore it is imperative that you always have them in order.

Rabies in vaccinated dogs, can they get it?

We say that you have to have the vaccine always up to date because if you only receive the injection when you are a puppy, growing up will cease to be effective. When you visit your veterinarian after adopting your furry, he will vaccinate and also deliver the relevant calendar. Follow it closely because it is the only effective way to prevent rabies in dogs and puppies.

If you are reading this and consider going to a veterinarian to work as a veterinarian, you have to get vaccinated against rabies and learn to identify the symptoms of the disease, since you will often meet with dogs that have it. If you have any questions about this issue, do not hesitate to have our veterinarians online, anyway, in the face of rage in humans and dogs, time is short. Get out urging as soon as possible.

Have you been left with doubts? Ask our veterinarians:

Everything you need to know before a dog bite

If ever a dog He bit you, maybe you wondered if the animal was angry and you didn't know what to do. Precisely, this Thursday, September 28 is celebrated on World Rabies Day, a date that recalls the importance of vaccinating our pets.

"Anger it is a deadly disease, if one is not treated and the dog has been angry, the person is going to die, ”he said, Useful and Interesting, the doctor Ricardo López, veterinary doctor of the National Institute of Health.

Actually in Lime there is no rage, however, according to data from the National Institute of Health, in Arequipa more than 35 cases have been detected.

Initial symptoms of a person with rabies

When a person has suffered a dog bite with rabies, he has some initial symptoms that include: fever, burning and tingling at the site of the bite, loss of sensation, muscle spasms. In more advanced stages, the rabies virus will continue to spread through the central nervous system, leading to inflammation of both the brain and spinal cord, causing the death of the infected person.

Sensitive areas

If there are multiple wounds or if the bite occurred in areas such as, face, neck or finger pads, the doctor should apply the rabies vaccine.


If an animal bites you, the National Health Institute specialist recommends washing the wound with soap and water. Subsequently, the patient must go to the emergency medical service and if the dog that bit him has escaped, he will have to be vaccinated against rabies.

How to know if the dog has rabies?

Initial symptoms of anger. The dog changes its behavior, flees from the light, begins to get into dark places, is afraid of water and does not want to eat. In addition, the dog begins to have a more intense growl and bark, because there is an affectation to the pharynx and larynx.

Symptoms of late-stage rage. The dog begins to have motor coordination. His hind legs wobble when he walks and has contractions.

He sick dog with rage It can stand up for only 5 to 8 days. "If it's already 10 days and he's still alive, then he's not angry," the doctor told RPP Aldo Lama, regional health director of Callao.

Rabies disease in dogs

Rabies virus It is present in infected saliva and penetrates the body through a bite. It can also be transmitted through saliva through an open wound or a mucosa.

In the case of dogs, the incubation period is two to eight weeks, although it can be reduced to one or extended to a whole year. The virus reaches the brain through the nervous system, so, The more distant the bite of the brain is, the longer the incubation period will be. After reaching the brain, the virus returns to the mouth, penetrating the salivary glands up to 10 days before the first symptoms occur.

Symptoms of rabies in dogs

The symptoms of rabies are due to inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) and have several phases:

  • Incubation. In this phase, the dog still no symptoms of the disease. It can last from one week to several months.
  • Pondromic phase. It lasts two to eight days. You will observe changes in your dog's habitual behavior. In addition, it is often bite in the place where the virus penetrated. Later the dog he will become withdrawn and spend time looking abstracted in a vacuum.
  • Aggressive phase. The dog becomes dangerous and aggressive, attacking anything that moves. The muscles of your face go into spasm and pull your lips back, exposing your teeth. He will bite anyone who comes across him. It is a dangerous phase in which you should have cu> What to do if we suspect that our dog may have contracted rabies

  • Examine your dog to locate possible bites, her> Rabies disease treatment

There is currently no treatment for rabies. Therefore, when a dog is bitten by another animal, it is assumed that it may be rabid until proven otherwise.

If the dog is vaccinated, you will be given a revaccination and will be kept under observation during 14 to 20 days according to him action protocol in force in our country.

If the dog is not vaccinatedshould be slaughtered or quarantined for six months. In case of quarantine and show no symptoms of the disease, you will be vaccinated one month before releasing it.

Rabies disease prevention

The vaccination It is a very effective form of prevention. It begins at three months of age, with revaccination a year later and then every one or three years, depending on the law in force.

Any bite of a wild animal It should be considered a potential carrier of rabies. Is essential clean Quickly and thoroughly bites and scratches with soap and water, also administering an antiseptic. This action greatly decreases the risk of contracting the disease. It is not convenient to suture the wound. Then go to vet to give your dog a vaccine and take appropriate action.

Prophylaxis must begin before 14 days have passed since the bite, since it is not effective once the first symptoms of the disease appear.

Also, try to prevent your dog from interacting with wild or unknown animals. Use caution with abandoned animals and, instead of picking them up, notify the competent authority. Do it also if you suspect that an animal that is not yours may have rabies. This will prevent the spread of the disease.

When you travel with your dog, take the rabies vaccination certificates, since if you enter an area under quarantine and cannot prove that your dog is vaccinated, they can take it away.