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Rabies is a viral disease common to all mammals and always fatal once declared. The fact that this disease is transmitted to humans (known as zoonosis) has led to strict legislation concerning, among other things, the vaccination and transit of domestic carnivores, but also the health surveillance of biting animals.

1- Symptoms of rabies :

The symptoms found are explained by the fact that the germ responsible for the disease attacks the brain. After an incubation period of a few days to a month, the disease can take two forms in dogs :

The paralytic form begins as its name suggests with paralysis of the rear gear, jaws and pharynx. He can't bite, can't bark and salivate a lot because he can't swallow anymore. Death occurs 2 to 3 days after the onset of symptoms;

The furious form begins with changes in progressive behaviour. The animal is sad, seems nowhere, lands and rises immediately... Then there are violent, incessant itching accompanied by hallucinatory phenomena and barking or howling. In a final phase, the dog tackles anything that passes near his teeth and bites anything and anyone for no reason. This form ends with the paralytic form described above. Death occurs 4 to 5 days after the onset of symptoms.

2 - Causes of rabies :

It is the saliva of the infected animal that contains the infecting agent and therefore represents the contamination factor. This explains why the disease is transmitted mainly by bite but also by staining a wound by infected saliva (e.g. scratching). The saliva of a rabid dog may contain the virus and thus transmit the disease before it externalizes any symptoms.

3 - Treatment and prevention of rabies :

No treatment exists once the disease is declared and rabies is then systematically fatal. The focus must therefore be on prevention. This is why rabies legislation is draconian not only with regard to vaccination but also with regard to the surveillance of biting animals.

There is an effective vaccine against rabies. It can be administered to the puppy as early as 3 months of age. It is done in an injection in the first year and the effectiveness is ensured by an annual reminder. To be legally valid, the time between two booster injections must not exceed one year to the day. At the first vaccination, the animal will not be considered vaccinated until one month after the injection.