Rabies in Humans – Can You Catch it From Dogs?
Rabies is a severe disease that affects most mammals. For example, domesticated animals such as dogs or cats can get it. It’s also common in wild animals. But, believe it or not, rabies can be passed onto humans as well. Here’s everything you need to know about rabies in humans.
What is Rabies?
Rabies is a virus that affects the nervous system of dogs, cats, humans, and many other mammals. The disease spreads throughout the brain and the spinal cord when this happens.
This disease can be found in many parts of the world, including North America, Central, and South America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and some parts of Europe.
Luckily, there are some parts of the world that that rabies-free. These areas include Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Ireland, Iceland, the United Kingdom, Antarctica, certain Pacific Islands, and parts of Scandinavia.
Unfortunately, rabies is incurable. However, it can be treated if it’s caught early enough. Otherwise, it can be fatal.
There is a vaccine that is 100% effective against rabies disease. This is why rabies vaccination is a legal requirement in most parts of the world.
What Are the Symptoms of Rabies In Humans?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), incubation periods for humans who contract the rabies virus can be three weeks to three months. However, there are some cases where the period lasts up to a year.
If you get bitten by a wild animal or a dog with rabies, you may notice some symptoms within the first day or three days.
For example, you may get:
- Muscle weakness
- Burning near the bite spot
But did you know there are two types of rabies? There are paralytic rabies and furious rabies. Humans can get both.
Symptoms of Furious Rabies
If you contact furious rabies, then you may develop symptoms such as:
- Excessive salivation
- Foaming at the mouth
- Problems swallowing
- Fear of water
Symptoms of Paralytic Rabies
On the other hand, getting paralytic rabies is more serious. First, it takes longer to set in. Then, before you know it, you slowly get paralyzed, slip into a coma, and pass away.
How Do Humans Catch Rabies?
The most common way for a human to get rabies is to be bitten by a non-vaccinated dog. This is why it’s essential (and required by law in most places) to get your dog vaccinated for rabies as soon as possible.
In most cases, a domesticated animal such as a dog can get rabies if it comes into contact with another dog that has rabies or wild animals. Also, in some cases, humans can get it from wild animals. (For example, if you go camping and run into a wild animal.)
Who are the Most At Risk For Getting Rabies?
Believe it or not, some humans are more inclined to catch rabies than others. For example, some people are at a higher risk if the following occurs:
- They live in an area where bats highly populate
- Living in a rural area with greater exposure to wild animals
- Traveling to developing countries
- Frequent camping and exposure to wild animals
- Humans under 15 years old
How Can You Cure Rabies?
Unfortunately, for humans, there is no true way to cure rabies. It’s rarely fixed. However, if you get rabies, then there are a series of injections that you can get to stop the infection from setting in.
So, it’s treatable if you catch it early enough.
Once you’ve been bitten by an animal you suspect might have rabies (or an unfamiliar animal), see your doctor right away. They’ll administer about five shots over 14 days to prevent the infection.
How Can You Prevent Getting Rabies?
The easiest and most effective way to prevent getting rabies is to stay away from wild or stray animals that may have it.
If you have pets at home, get them vaccinated for rabies as soon as possible. The vaccine is 100% effective against rabies. So, even if your pup gets bit by an animal with rabies, they’ll be okay.
Also, make sure that you avoid contact with wild animals or other domesticated animals if they’re not vaccinated.
In addition, make sure that you don’t allow your pets to wander around outside on their own unless they’re leashed or have a fenced-in yard. Regardless, you should still keep an eye on them.
Humans Can Catch Rabies From Dogs
Overall, humans can get rabies, and it is deadly for them as it is for dogs. However, there are ways to prevent rabies from happening. First, be mindful of the animals you come in contact with, and be sure to vaccinate your pets as soon as they can be vaccinated.