BILOXI DOGS AND RABIES; WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Ask any dog lover in Biloxi what is one of their biggest concerns for their dog. You can be sure that the possibility of it becoming rabid will always find its place amongst the top three. This is not because cases of rabies infection are common in the United States. Instead, it is because the effect of a rabies infection is very disastrous.
This trend is not exclusive to Biloxi alone. All over the world, dog owners want to make sure as much as possible that their dog is free from rabies. Definitely, everyone wants to be safe while they take care of their pets. How much you know about rabies can go a long way in keeping your dog free from rabies and also protect you from the consequences of being attacked by a rabid dog.
Basically, rabies is a virus which spreads mainly via the bite or scratch of an animal. Just in case you are wondering how dangerous it is, it is so bad that it must have done a lot of harm before the individual starts showing symptoms. In essence, an individual who gets bitten by a dog or cat with a high possibility of rabies should get treatment almost immediately.
As a country, the United States has succeeded in bringing occurrences of rabies affection to an intense low. Out of a population of over 300 million people, just about three people get rabies every year. Most of these few cases are cases of individuals who are returning to the country. Three things have made these strides possible. They are; advanced medical research and technology, awareness, and vaccination programs.
This seems like a lot of good news, so why are we still talking about rabies in Biloxi? This is because rabies is still a big problem on a global scale. Every year, tens of thousands of deaths are recorded due to rabies in rural areas of Southeast Asia and Africa. A trip to any of these places opens Biloxi citizens and Americans at large to the virus. Therefore, it’s not out of place to be informed in this regard. Although, other animals such as cats and Over 95 percent of infections are caused by dogs.
Basic facts about rabies
- Rabies is a viral disease that is hosted by animals.
- There is a very high chance of rabies being transmitted to an individual been bitten by an infected animal.
- Keeping up with vaccination requirements for pets helps prevent and control rabies
- For treatment to be effective, it must be administered before symptoms appear.
- Symptoms include neurological disorders, fear of light, and water.
- Without swift treatment, it usually turns out fatal
How rabies affects the body system
When not treated as soon as possible, the rabies virus usually stages a calculated invasion into the body system. Upon entering the body system, it makes its way to the peripheral nervous system (PNS), straight to the brain. On getting there, it replicates within muscle tissue and secures a safe position away from the host’s immune system. From here, it enters the nervous system through the neuromuscular junctions. Once it gets established in the nervous system, the virus produces acute infection of the brain. This then leads to the coma and death of the host.
Transmission among animals
One reason why the outside world has a significant number of rabies cases is the presence of stray dogs in large numbers. Asia and Africa are guilty of this. In the course of socialization among their peers, these animals spread the virus. That way, hosting animals get to multiply. Another factor most responsible for this is the low rate of vaccination (unlike what is obtainable here in the United States). The transmission can also happen via open wounds and mucus membranes such as the eyes or mouth. As long as the outer skin is not broken, an infection cannot take place.
Here in the United States, the chances of transmission are high among animals that do not fall in the class of pets. These include raccoons, coyotes, bats, skunks, and foxes. This is logical when you remember that it is almost impossible to get them all vaccinated since they mostly live in the wild.
Rabies manifests in the following stages;
- Acute neurologic period
- Coma and death
This is the period between the time the virus finds its way into the system, and when symptoms start to appear. Usually, this happens between 3 and 12 weeks. Symptoms appear faster when the entry point is closer to the brain.
This is more or less the start of the symptomatic stage. At this point, an infected individual may start struggling with very high fever (with body temperature up to 38 degrees Celsius or above), headache, anxiety, nausea and vomiting, discomfort at the site of the bite, sore throat and a cough, etc. this can take place for about ten days and even get worse as time goes by.
Acute neurologic period
At this point, the patient faces a whole new level of discomfort. This usually comes in the form of confusion and aggression, involuntary muscle twitching, convulsions, partial paralysis, and rigid neck muscles, hyperventilation and difficulty breathing, excess production of saliva, and possibly frothing at the mouth, permanent erection (in the case of males) hallucinations, etc. As this stage approaches its end, the patient will begin to experience difficulty in breathing.
Coma and death
Unfortunately, this is the ending point for most victims of rabies, a state of unconsciousness that results in death in just a few hours. Unless they are placed on a ventilator, patients are not likely to survive. That is why you should take chances if you ever get bitten by an animal that hosts rabies, or perhaps, the animal licks your open wound. Instead, get treated immediately.
You don’t want to be at the receiving end of a rabies infection. Therefore, stay away from raccoons and other wild animals that host the virus. Most importantly, do not forget to get your pets (especially dogs) vaccinated. There are a handful of vet doctors in Biloxi who can help guide you through all necessary vaccinations. Do this today and feel safe around your pets henceforth.