Rabies is a viral disease that effects all warm-blooded animals, including humans. The virus is transmitted though saliva when an affected animal bites a susceptible victim. On rare occasions, the rabies virus can enter the body through deep scratch wounds or any break in the skin or mucous membranes or by inhalation. Inhalation of the virusin an unusual method of transmission; however, it can occur in caves that are heavily populated by rabid bats.





A rabid animal bites its victim and injects saliva containing the rabies virus. In the newly infected animal, the virus begins to multiply. Virus multiplication occurs in the area surrounding the bite wound. After a period of time, virus particles enter large nerves and travel toward the spinal cord and brain. Once  inside the brain, the rabies virus multiplies a second time. As multiplication occurs, viruses pass to the salivary glands. This is particularly important and accounts for the danger associated with saliva.





Early symptoms include personality changes. Friendly animals become shy, and reserved animals often become aggressive.

Two forms of rabies are recognized: the "furiousz"or "mad"type and the "paralytic"or dumb form.






The most commen form of rabies in the furious type. Animals hallucinate and snap at imaginary objects. A rabid animal is extremely aggressive and may attack or bite other animals as well as his or her owner. Other signs include excitation, irritability, photophobia extreme sensitivity to light and seizures.







In many country's , wild animals are the reservoir for the rabies virus. Raccoons, foxes, skunks, and bats are commonly infected. Raccoons and skunks are partiulary a problem due to their presence in urban and suburban areas. Pets become infected when they come into contact with these animals and are  bitten 







Vaccinating pets protects them from rabies. Vaccinations begin at three to four months of age and should be continued throughout the animal's life.







If you would like additional information concerning rabies, you must contact your veterinarian or you local public health official.







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