Rabies is a tragic disease that can be contracted by any mammal, including humans. If left untreated, rabies is almost always fatal, with survivors suffering neurological deficits. The following overview can help you learn how to detect and prevent rabies in order to protect your health and that of your pets:
While cases of rabies typically occur in wild animals, the disease may develop in unvaccinated pets that are exposed to it through the saliva of an infected host, oftentimes through a bite. Once the virus enters the muscle tissue, it travels through nerve pathways until it enters the brain. During this one to three month incubation period, the newly infected animal displays no symptoms and is not yet contagious. However, as the virus inflames the brain, it enters the salivary glands, where it can be transmitted once again through a bite.
Animals that are infected with rabies and are contagious often act abnormally. Wild animals that are usually timid may appear bold or friendly, while generally personable dogs may become mistrustful or aggressive. Early signs of rabies include difficulty walking, lethargy, and loss of appetite. After a few days of symptoms, the animal may begin to exhibit rage, biting or attacking any nearby moving object. Several days later, the victim loses the ability to swallow and gradually becomes paralyzed, dying soon after.
If preventative measures such as vaccination are not taken shortly after infection occurs, survival is unlikely. Humans and animals alike generally perish within ten days of the onset of symptoms, which is why it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately after being bitten by any kind of mammal.
Because domestic animals such as dogs are generally the cause of rabies exposure in humans, it is vital for all pets to be vaccinated against rabies. If you have been bitten by a dog and are unsure of its immunization history, contact a doctor and call Shea Law Group in Chicago at (773) 365-0040. Our dog bite lawyers recognize the urgency and severity of the situation, which is why we offer 24/7 phone consultations.