Animal welfare

Early Signs of Rabies in Animals: Symptoms in Dogs, Cows, Cats

India reported 14.5 lakh cases of dog bites in the first 7 months of 2022. While dogs are responsible for about 98% of human rabies, some cases also emerge from cats, monkeys, and cows. 

That’s why it is important to know the early signs of rabies. Helplocal – the best place to search local NGOs in India – is here to help you understand what rabies looks like and list out initial symptoms of this deadly disease. 

Let’s first know what exactly rabies is! 

What is Rabies?

Rabies is a virus that spreads through the saliva of infected animals. In rare cases, rabies can spread when infected saliva gets into an open wound or the mucous membranes such as the mouth or eyes.

Signs of Rabies in Animals 

While cranial nerve dysfunction, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, abnormal behavior, and aggression are some common signs of rabies, these can vary in different animals. 

Let’s look at the initial signs and symptoms of rabies in animals that are common in Indian households and roads: 

Signs of Rabies in Dogs 

Once a dog is infected with rabies infection, the virus progresses rapidly. It usually takes less than 10 days to develop but can take a couple of months as well. Signs progress within the days to cerebral nerve dysfunction and cranial dysfunction.  

Here are some early signs of rabies in stray dogs and household dogs: 

  •  Fever
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Excessive drooling 
  • Staggering 
  • Muscle spasms 
  • Paralysis
  • Mental confusion  

First Symptoms of Rabies in Cats 

In the first 2-4 days of rabies infection, a cat may have a fever, decreased appetite, and less energy than usual and symptoms progress quickly to paralysis of the legs, seizures, and too much saliva. Here are some common initial signs of rabies in cats: 

  • Aggression: Cats can become excitable, aggressive, and vicious towards humans. 
  • Loss of muscle control: The final stages of rabies cause paralysis and coma. 

Signs of Rabies in Cows 

Yes, it’s true that rabies can happen to cows as well. When a cow catches the infection, it exhibits: 

  • Abnormal behavior 
  • Inability to swallow 
  • Neurological abnormalities 
  • Lameness

The early signs of rabies are variable and can include anorexia, lameness, hypersalivation, and aggression. 

Early signs of rabies in dogs and animals  

We have covered all the visible signs of rabies in dogs, cats, and cows. While we have covered most of the important details of rabies in animals, here’s a resource that you can check out for further information.

In India, rabies is pretty common in stray dogs, cats, cows, and other animals because they often come in contact with the virus while scouting for food. In case you see a stray dog, cat, or cow with above listed symptoms, get in touch with local animal rescue NGOs or the local municipality if there’s not any active animal rescue NGO nearby.

Here are some other blogs you can check out if you want to help animals:

India’s stray animal’s statistics and data

Best games to play with dogs

Donate dog supplies in India

Want to help empower small local NGOs and groups? Check out these pages:

Women upliftment NGOs in India

Senior citizen NGOs in India

Global warming NGOs in India

Disaster recovery NGOs in India

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