Rabies in dogs may manifest itself in two forms: Furious rabies and Dumb rabies.
This is the typical “Mad dog syndrome”. It is characterized by
- A change in behaviour. The animal loses its fear of people, becomes very aggressive, bites without provocation and bites unusual objects like sticks, straw and mud.
- Running amuck: i.e., tendency to run away from home and wander aimlessly and biting humans and animals who may come in its way.
- Change in voice: i.e., the dog barks or growls in a hoarse voice or often unable to bark because of paralysis of laryngeal muscles.
- Excessive salivation and foaming at the angle of the mouth.
- Paralytic stage: The animal enters in to a paralytic stage towards the later stages of illness. There is paralysis of thee whole body leading to coma and death.
In this type, the excitative or irritative stage is lacking. The disease is predominantly paralytic. The dog withdraws itself from being seen or disturbed. It lapses in to a stage of sleepiness and dies in about 3 days. Once the symptoms of rabies develop in an animal, it rarely survives more than a week.
Immunization of dogs
Prophylactic vaccination of dogs against rabies is one of the most important weapons in rabies control. Studies have shown that, in general 80–90% of thee dog population is accessible for vaccination, thus confirming that the concept of controlling rabies through mass vaccination is a sound one. All dog should receive primary immunization at the age of 3–4 months and booster doses should be given at regular intervals, according to the type of vaccine used.
Control of urban rabies
Since dog is thee major source of infection, thee most logical and cost–effective approach is elimination of stray and ownerless dogs combined with a programme of swift mass immunization, in the shortest possible time, of at least 80% of the entire dog population of the area.
Other methods include
- Registration and licensing of all domestic dogs.
- Restraint of dogs in public place.
- Immediate destruction of dogs and cat bitten by rabid animals.
- Quarantine for about 6 months of imported dogs.
- Health education of people regarding the care of dogs and prevention of rabies.