Rabies in Animals

Rabies in Animals

Rabies is primarily a disease of animals. The most commonly involved and frequently associated animal is the Dog. It can also be seen in other animals with which man has been in close contact since ages.


The incubation period of this disease is about 10 days to 2 months and sometimes even longer. In the initial stage the dog stars behaving differently and abnormally. It goes to dark corners, becomes restless, shows unusual agitation and develops fever. There are two clinical varieties that are seen of this disease. Furious Rabies and the Dump Rabies.

Furious Rabies: is the more common variety. In this the dog becomes dangerously aggressive, bites – may be its own chain, stone, paper, wood iron and other metal objects and even man or any other animal. Later there is paralysis of the jaws and there is drooling of the saliva and the vocal cord paralysis which leads to change in tone of bark. In the end there is paralysis of the limbs and trunk and death occurs due to respiratory paralysis and convulsions.

Dump Rabies: is less common. In this there are mainly paralytic features. The paralytic feature  start with the muscles of head and back regions. The animal has difficulty in the swallowing. At times the owner tries to help the pet in feeding and thus gets exposed to this disease.

The survival for the animal is generally for 3-5 days.


In Cats it is mostly the furious variety. The cat may strike in air as if trying to catch mice. The death is due to convulsions and respiratory paralysis.

Cows & Horses get rabies from bite by another animal mainly the Dog. In cows there is profuse salivation and excitation and paralysis. Horses may show excitation and occasionally show aggression. Wild animals may lose fear of man and the nocturnal animals are seen during day time and may attack man.

Laboratory Diagnosis: in case of animals is done after the death of the animal. It is done by the examination of the brain. This is done —

  • by demonstration of Negri bodies by seller’s stain.
  • by detection of rabies viral antigen by fluorescent antibody test – it is quick and the best method.,

Immunization of Animals

Tissue culture vaccine is used for Pre-Exposure Immunization. For Dogs and Cats 2 injections at 2 months age and another one month later is given. Then a booster every year.