Rabies is a preventable viral disease that affects only mammals.
Transmission is usually through the bite of a rabid animal involving contact with infected mucous membranes. The virus is usually spread from wildlife (skunks, bats, raccoons, foxes, and coyotes) to domestic animals.
Signs of rabies quickly progress from:
- Trouble swallowing
Death usually occurs within 10 days after the onset of signs. There is rarely any effective treatment once signs have begun.
Currently, there is no test for rabies in a living animal. Testing is done post mortem (after death) on the brain to look for the virus which is why vaccination is key to prevention.
Marci Scarano, DVM, earned her DVM degree from Ross University and completed her clinical year at Oklahoma State University. Learn more about her here.