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Dog Health 13.07.2020

Rabies in dogs - rabies vaccination and signs that your dog is affected

Sissi by Sissi, Sissi has been a blogger since 2014, got on the dog in 2018. Since then, she struts her 10000 steps through the world every day with Loki. The Beagdor (Labrador-Beagle mix) is a therapy dog for children and also accompanies her to schools. Secretly she fancies a French Bulldog as a second dog.

Rabies in dogs - rabies vaccination and signs that your dog is affected.

Rabies is an anthropozoonosis, which means the disease can be transmitted from mammals to humans. Only birds and fish are immune to the disease. Dog rabies hardly occurs today in most European countries, because most dogs are protected by vaccination. Mainly dogs with rabies are still observed in Turkey, Asia, Africa and South America. Since the disease is always fatal, the competent authority must be notified in the event of an outbreak.

Rabies sick dogs scuffle

The basis and causes of rabies in dogs.

Rabies is caused by a virus called the Lyssa virus. In the environment, the Lyssa virus cannot survive for long. It is killed by ultraviolet radiation. In the bodies of dead animals, the virus can survive for a long time. Other animals that eat the meat cannot contract the infectious disease this way.

Transmission occurs mainly through saliva, which gets into the fresh wound when bitten. The virus multiplies at the bite site and then travels along the nerves into the central nervous system. There it causes inflammation of the brain in your dog. The Lyssa virus then travels again along the nerves into the salivary glands. From this point on, other animals can be infected again.

In rabies, three forms are distinguished:

  • urbane rage: occurs in dogs and cats
  • silvatic rage
  • avian rage: affects bats

In Germany and Austria, urban rage has been eradicated by vaccination programs.

Silvatic rage affects wild animals, such as foxes, deer and wild boars.

Avian rage occurs mainly in bats. The infectious disease can be observed in South America, in Germany it occurs only rarely. In Europe there is no avian rage.

Symptoms and diagnosis

Progressive stages of Rabies:

  1. Prodromal stage

  2. neuronal phase

  3. paralytic phase

Neuronal phase is divided into silent and raging rage.


  • Fatigue
  • Faintness
  • vomiting
  • chronic diarrhea
  • indigestion
  • the bite wound hurts
  • the dog withdraws
  • refusal to play
  • aggression
  • cramps of the musculature
  • increased salivation
  • paralysis of the hind legs
  • Ataxias (movement disorders)
  • refusal to take in water
  • Inflammation of the brain
  • Death due to paralysis of the respiratory centre

The first Rabies diagnosis is a tentative diagnosis. Changes in character, refusal of food and water indicate rabies. Since the disease is also contagious for humans and is also always fatal, your dog must be brought to a quarantine station. A blood test can show antibodies specific for Lyssa. The final diagnosis will be made by the pathologist. During the inflammation of the brain, typical inclusion corpuscles, the Negri's corpuscles, form in the brain cells of the deceased dog.

Therapy and prevention

Dog rabies is a notifiable disease. A treatment of your dog may not be carried out. If the diagnosis is confirmed, the killing of your dog(euthanasia) is ordered by the competent authority.

To protect you and your dog from the disease, it is important to have a rabies vaccination at a veterinarian. The basic immunisation takes place in the eighth, twelfth and sixteenth week of your dog's life. After that, the rabies vaccination must be refreshed every two to three years according to the vaccine manufacturer's instructions. If you are planning to take your dog to a high-risk area (Turkey), a booster is recommended before the start of the trip or once a year. Only by the proof of a complete vaccination protection a quarantine and killing of your dog can be avoided in case of emergency.

The rabies vaccination protects humans and dogs against canine rabies.

Banner: Shutterstock / Kanut Srinin
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