Diseases and Parasites of Dogs and Cats

By Gove Hambidge, Published: 2014, FileType: PDF

Diseases and parasites of dogs and cats

Diseases and Parasites of Dogs and Cats, Rabies can be controlled and even eradicated, but in the United States, which has so successfully combated other animal diseases, it is allowed to be widely prevalent. The disease is caused by a virus, which attacks the brain and spinal cord, with fatal results. In this country it is spread chiefly by the bites of mad dogs; the virus exists in the animal’s saliva and infects the wound. It has been estimated that about 15 per cent of the human beings bitten by mad dogs contract the disease unless they receive treatment, which consists of a series of vaccine injections. Among domestic animals, about 35 per cent of those bitten become infected. These are general figures only and have been estimated over a period of years. The incidence of the disease may be higher or lower in specific outbreaks.

In most cases, symptoms of the disease develop within 2 weeks to 3 months after infection. When a human being is bitten by a dog that might possibly be rabid, it is important to confine the animal under the observation of a veterinarian until the disease, if it is present, has a chance to develop and run its course. Death occurs within a few days after symptoms appear, and the dog’s brain can then be examined for specific evidence of rabies. The treatment given to exposed human beings depends to a large extent on this evidence.

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The Pasteur treatment and its modifications are used after exposure to the disease. About 20 years ago a one-shot vaccine was developed to be used for dogs as a preventive before exposure. Although this vaccination has definite value, it can not be relied on as the sole method of controlling the disease, because there are dogs to which it does not give sure protection against a severe exposure. Moreover, the stray dog always plays an important part in the spread of the disease.

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