Rabies in Dogs and Cats

Common info

Rabies in dogs and cats is a viral disease that causes acute inflammation in the brain. The disease can occur in both human beings and all kinds of mammals. There is a very high chance of death upon getting infected. The incubation period, including the time when signs of symptoms exhibit, is from 1 to 3 months. The common symptoms of rabies in dogs and cats include hydrophobia, seizures, paralysis, pica, fever and unusual aggression, etc.


In the 16th century, an Italian physician Girolamo Fracastoro discovered that rabies was a fatal disease affecting humans and animals.  Later on, in 2014, an outbreak of rabies was reported in the poultry farm of China.


Rabies in dogs and cats causes a lyssavirus. Rabies can be from the infected animal to other animals through scratches or bites. Being in contact with the infected animal’s saliva, eye, mouth, and nose can also cause viral disease to transmit.

Three stages of rabies recognize in dogs and other animals:

  • The first stage of rabies is a 1-to-3-day period, characterized by behavioral changes and known as the prodromal stage.
  • The second stage of rabies is the excitative stage, which lasts 3 to 4 days. It is this stage that the affected animal is hyperactive to external stimuli and bites at anything near.
  • The third stage of rabies is the paralytic stage and causing damage to motor neurons. Incoordination sees due to rear limb paralysis while drooling and difficulty swallowing causes paralysis of facial and throat muscles.


  • Hydrophobia
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis
  • Pica
  • Fever
  • Unusual aggression
  • Jaw drop
  • Inability to swallow
  • Muscular lack of coordination
  • Paranoid
  • Excessive excitability
  • Excessive salivation

The symptoms of rabies in dogs and cats include pica, fever, seizures, paralysis, hydrophobia, jaw drops causing inability to swallow, muscular lack of coordination, unusual aggression, paranoid, excessive excitability, paralysis in molar and pharynx causing excessive salivation.

Treatment and Prevention

If your pets have vaccinated against rabies, the relevant evidence should obtain from the veterinarian. If anyone came into contact with such a pet's saliva or bitten by the infected pet, advise them to contact a physician immediately for treatment. Unfortunately, rabies is always fatal for unvaccinated animals, usually occurring within 7 to 10 days from when the initial symptoms began.

  1. Wikipedia | Rabies
  2. Mayoclinic. | Rabies
  3. Petmd | Rabies
  4. Reuters | China reports highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu at chicken farm: OIE
  5. Banyard, A.C., D.L. Horton., C. Freuling., T. Muller and A.R. Fooks. 2013. Control and prevention of canine rabies: The need for building laboratory-based surveillance capacity. Antiviral Research. 98: 357-364.
  6. Qin,Y., T.G.Smith., F.Jackson., N.F.Gallardo-Romero., C.N.Morgan., V.Olson., C.L.Hustsom and X. wu. 2018. Revisiting rabies virus neutralizing antibodies through infecting BALB/c mice with live rabies virus. Virus research. 248:39-43.
  7. Duong, V., A. Taratola., S.Ong., C.Mey., R.Choeung., S.Ly., H.Bourhy.,P.Dussart and P.Buchy. 2016. Laboratory diagnostics in dog-mediated rabies: an overview of performance and a proposed strategy for various setting.International journal of infectious Disease.46: 107-114.
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