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Rabies Facts

"The mission of World Rabies Day is to raise awareness about the impact of human and animal rabies, how easy it is to prevent it, and how to eliminate the main global sources. Even though the major impact of rabies occurs in regions of the world where many needs are present, rabies should no longer be neglected. The tools and technology for human rabies prevention and dog rabies elimination are available." --Quote taken from website


World Rabies Day begins on September 22, in Bukidnon, Phillippines with an Advocacy Walk for Rabies Prevention and Responsible Pet Ownership, sponsored by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control.


  • Rhabdoviridae family and affects the central nervous system
  • Can affect ALL MAMMALS! Including domestic and non-domestic animals, and HUMANS
  • The Rabies virus has been present in VA since the 1750’s
  • The Rabies vaccine has been MANDATORY for dogs since 1940!
  • The Rabies vaccine is REQUIRED BY LAW in VA for all dogs and cats by the time they are 4 months old
  • The bites from a rabid animal (especially a bat) can be so small they can be nearly impossible to find on your pet
  • An oral vaccine is hidden in bait & dropped in certain areas to help control the Rabies virus in the wild.

Symptoms and Transmission

  • Respiratory transmission is possible, but rare—famous Texas bat cave incident
  • Symptoms are HIGHLY variable and numerous!
  • Can take days to YEARS in rare cases for symptoms to appear—Average=1-3 months
  • Once infected, the virus replicates in the cytoplasm of muscle cells and spreads—it eventually ends up in nerve receptors, and enters the central nervous system where it attacks the brain and spinal cord before continuing to spread throughout the peripheral nervous system
  • Symptoms in HUMANS:
    • 30-60 days post-infection=pain/itching at site, restlessness, headache, fever, nausea, sore throat, loss of appetite
    • Next=Increased production of saliva, muscle stiffness, sensitivity to light/ loud sounds, irrational excitement, convulsions
    • Later=anxiety, confusion, agitation, delirium
  • Symptoms in ANIMALS
    • 3 phases, although not all are observed!
    • Phase 1, “prodromal”=virus is starting to replicate and move through the nervous system
      • Behavioral changes; most often a reversal of normal behavior (shy animals becoming aggressive, aggressive animals becoming timid, or nocturnalraccoon.jpg animals being out during the day and vice versa)

  • Phase 2, “Furious”=
    • Animals are extremely irritable and aggressive—will lunge at and attack anything that moves near them
    • Increased production of saliva=classic “foaming at the mouth
    • Not every animal displays this form!!
  • Phase 3, “Dumb/Paralytic”=
    • most commonly paralysis of lower jaw and legs
    • animal loses the ability to chew, swallow, walk normally, right itself, stay standing or maintain flight
    • “Hydrophobia”=fear of water,
    • With Rabies, it is actually an inability to swallow that leads to avoidance of water, not fear
    • Death usually follows

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