What are the signs of rabies infection in dogs?

Thursday June 20, 2019

A bite from an unvaccinated dog in Connecticut can put you at risk for contracting rabies. Should this occur, your chances of survival are slim to none. Fortunately, post-bite rabies vaccination is extremely effective at preventing the disease. Nevertheless, it is preferable not to receive a bite in the first place. Recognizing the signs that a dog might be infectious can help you to minimize the risk. 

The Humane Society of the United States identifies a number of signs that a dog may have rabies. These include self-mutilation or acting disoriented. A rabid dog may have difficulty moving, seeming partially paralyzed, moving in circles or walking in an excessively wobbly manner. Some people report that an infected dog appears drunk due to its unsteady movements. Excessive drooling, sometimes described as foaming at the mouth, is often present. 

Rabies can produce symptoms of unusual agitation in a dog. Once infected, even a normally docile dog may start snapping or biting at objects, whether real or imagined. This includes human beings with whom it was previously familiar. 

The symptoms listed here are not exclusive to rabies infection. They can also indicate other conditions, such as lead poisoning or distemper. Nevertheless, if you observe a dog exhibiting any of these symptoms, do not approach it. Rather, you should contact Animal Control or the appropriate authorities within your community. 

It is not always necessary to receive a rabies vaccine after a dog bite. If the animal is observable, you can watch for symptoms to manifest. It may be possible to forgo the rabies vaccine if the dog shows no symptoms after 10 days. When in doubt, however, it is best to err on the side of caution and receive the vaccination. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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