Dogs are probably the first animal domesticated by man. They are faithful and loyal to the owner. But if a dog goes mad, it becomes dangerous.
A dog becomes mad when it is affected by a disease called rabies. This is a virus caused disease. The rabies virus is a bullet shaped one. The virus is carried in air or by wild animals. The virus enters the body of a dog through a cut or wound in its body. When an infected animal bites a dog, the virus in the saliva enters the body of the dog and travels to the central nervous system. The virus gets multiplied and starts destroying the brain cells. This results in laziness, fever and loss of interest for food. In 4-6 weeks, the virus affects the dog and the dog enters the mad stage. Growls, barks and saliva froths in the mouth are the indications of madness. It starts biting anybody and finally succumbs to death within 3-5 days after the symptoms are displayed. In another type, the dog does not go mad but becomes paralyzed. This is called ‘dumb rabies’.
When a mad dog bites a man, the virus in the saliva enters the body of the man. Mental weakness and uneasiness lead to lack of sleep. He enters a stage of feeling frightened. Muscles in the throat get slackened and it becomes difficult for taking food or liquid. He gets frightened by water as he is infected by a disease called, ‘hydrophobia’ meaning ‘fear of water’. The symptoms appear in a man within 1-2 three months.
In case of a dog bite, the affected portion should be cleaned immediately. Anti-rabies injection should be taken immediately, in any case within three days. The number of injections may vary between 3 and-14 depending on the number of bites and location of bite.
Louis Pasteur, a French chemist and biologist, invented the treatment for rabies in 1888. The Pasteur institute of France is a world famous centre for rabies treatment.
The rabies virus also affects foxes, monkeys, cats, bats, rats and jackals.