Press Bulletin No. 47.
THE RABID DOG.
[By DR. CHARLES F. DAWBON, Station Veterinarian.]
As hydrophobia or rabies it most often disseminated
by the bites of rabid dogs, this bulletin will deal mainly
with the symptoms exhibited by dogs suffering from this
disease. It occurs inf two forms, namely, furious mad-
ness and dumb madness. They are both one and the
same disease, and frequently their respective symptoms
shade off into each other, making it difficult to distin-
In furious madness, there are three distinct stages:
1st, the stage of melancholia; 2nd, the stage of irritation
or mania; 8rd, the sthge of paralysis.
The stage of melancholia lasts from one to three
days, sometimes longer. The behavior of the animal is
at first noticeably altered. It may become unusually
affectionate and vivacious, or it may be sullen, excitable,
March Ist, 1904.
irritable, frightened, and distrustful. It will hide itself,
frequently change its resting place, and move about sud-
denly. It gnaws and licks the part that has been bitten.
The appetite remains good in the earlier part of this stage,
but later becomes lost. It licks cold objects and bites
and gnaws everything with which it comes in contact, fre-
quently swallows straw, grass, stones, wood, glass, rags,
etc. At the end of this stage there may be slight spasms
in swallowing-choking, vomiting, coughing, panting,
difficult breathing, fever, and poking out the head.
The stage of irritation or mania covers a period of
three or four days, and is the one in which the dog gener-
ally scatters the disease by biting man and animals. It
is characterized by attacks of fury and convulsions. The
dog leaves home, even breaking the chain or destroying
his kennel, if necessary, to accomplish this object. They
wander aimlessly about for long distances and may enter
boldly strange premises. They sometimes return home.
At first, the inclination to bite is slight. It bites at im-
aginary objects in the air, and is very irritable. Later
on, it bites not only everything with which it comes in
contact, but becomes aggressive and attacks dogs, cattle,
sheer, goats, fowls, and even its own master. Sometimes,
in its fury, it will bite a redhot iron, or even tear its own
flesh. Frequently the teeth are broken. In rare cases it
avoids man and beast. In this stage there is a symptoin
to which great importance is attached, viz: the altered
voice. The bark is hoarse, rough and howling. The first
notes are prolonged into a high-pitched, long-drawn-out
In the stage of paralysis, the body rapidly wastes
away. The eyes are sunken, staring and glassy. Paraly-
sis occurs in various locations. First appears paralysis
of the muscles concerned in swallowing.- Then the lower
jaw drops, paralyzed, and the tongue hangs out. The
hindlegs next become affected, and the animal staggers
and becomes progressively weak. The paroxysms of
excitement are more infrequent and generally by the fifth
or eighth day from the onset of the disease, the animal
dies from exhaustion.
Dumb madness differs from furious madness chiefly
in the briefness of the stage of irritation or mania. Pa-
ralysis of the jaw and other parts occurs early, and death
takes place in two or three days.
The views which laymen hold concerning the symnp-
toms of hydrophobia in dogs are generally erroneous.
The popular opinion is that mad dogs run in a straight
line, showing great fear of water, their eyes are red, and
that they froth at the mouth. In reality they frequently
lap water, and show no dread of it, inasmuch as they
sometimes.swim across rivers and lakes.
Rabies is conveyed to the following domestic animals,
besides man, by the bite of the rabid dog: dogs, cattle,
horses, cats, swine, sheep, goats and fowls.
A supposedly rabid dog should not be killed, but
should be captured, if possible, so that the health author-
ities can make a proper examination and determine the
existence of 'rabies by scientific methods of investigation.
Dogs which have been bitten by a rabid animal come
down with the disease in from three to six weeks. In
some cases the incubation period is much shorter; in
others, much longer. Hence, when a dog is bitten by a
suspected animal it should, if of no value, be killed at
once; or if valuable, it should be chained and destroyed
when the first symptoms develop.
The following diseases simulate rabies: Inflamma-
tion of the brain, distemper, epilepsy, gastritis, enteritis,
parasites in the nose, bones wedged in between the teeth,
paralysis of the jaw, sunstroke, and great excitement from
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