Dog with Rabies


"Canine rabies is very unusual now in the US. Vaccination protects against the disease. There is no cure for this virus."


A dog with rabies is rare in the U.S. It is more common in some other parts of the world, such as Asia. All warm-blooded animals can get rabies including humans. All dogs should be vaccinated for rabies at age 12 – 16 weeks and again at age one year. After that, they should be vaccinated on a regular basis. There is no cure for rabies, so vaccination is critical.

Rabies is transmitted through a bite by an infected animal. However, not all bites by infected animals result in infection. Only about 15% of bites result in transmission of the disease.

If you are bitten by a dog or suspicious animal seek immediate treatment and read our guide to dog bite rabies.

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Canine Rabies Symptoms

When an infected animal bites a dog, the rabies virus moves along the nerves toward the brain. It is a slow-moving virus and there is an incubation period of 3 – 8 weeks before symptoms are shown.

There are three stages of rabies symptoms.

The first is the prodromal stage. This stage usually lasts for 2 – 3 days. Dogs become nervous and may avoid contact with people. They often run a fever. They will lick the site of the bite excessively.

The second stage is the furious stage. This lasts for anywhere from 1 – 7 days. Dogs become irritable and aggressive. They are hypersensitive to auditory and visual stimuli.

The third stage is the paralytic stage. Nerves of the head and neck are affected. The dog becomes unable to swallow and so begins to salivate and drool. Dogs may make a choking sounds and it may seem as if something is lodged in their throats. Labored breathing and dropping of the jaw occur as the muscles of the diaphragm and face become more and more paralyzed. The dog will get weaker and weaker and eventually die of respiratory failure.

Canine Rabies Diagnosis

Currently the only way to make an accurate diagnosis of rabies in a dog is to examine the brain. This means the dog must be dead. Researchers are working on developing blood tests to test for the disease.

A tentative diagnosis can be made based on the symptoms described above. A dog with rabies symptoms should be treated as if he may have the disease and be isolated from other animals.

Canine Rabies Treatment

Unfortunately there is no dog with rabies treatment. The disease is fatal.

That’s why it is so important to have your dog vaccinated. There are both a one-year vaccine and a three-year vaccine available. Talk to your veterinarian about which vaccine is best for your dog.


Clinical Diagnosis for Rabies in Live Dogs
Tesumethanon, Veera, DVM, Lumlertdacha, Boonlert, DVM, Mitmoonpitak, Channarong, DVM, Wilde, Henry, MD