What is rabies?
Rabies is a severe, and often fatal, viral polioencephalitis that specifically affects the gray matter of the dog’s brain and its central nervous system (CNS). The primary way the rabies virus is transmitted to dogs in the United States is through a bite from a disease carrier: foxes, raccoons, skunks, and bats. Infectious virus particles are retained in a rabid animal’s salivary glands to better disseminate the virus through their saliva.
Once the virus enters the dog’s body, it replicates in the cells of the muscles, and then spreads to the closest nerve fibers, including all peripheral, sensory and motor nerves, traveling from there to the CNS via fluid within the nerves. The virus can take up to a month to develop, but once the symptoms have begun, the virus progresses rapidly.
This inflammatory infection also has zoonotic characteristics and can therefore be transmitted to humans. If you would like to learn more about Symptoms and Types of Rabies in Dogs click next page .