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Rabies: Symptoms, Treatment
and Prevention

Children love pets and they benefit from the companionship, relationships and affection that they share with their pets. However, pets can transmit harmful infections to humans. It is therefore important to know how to protect your child from these infections.

All animals have germs and bacteria. Some infections carried by animals cannot be transmitted to humans. But, humans can get animal-borne diseases when they are bitten or scratched by animals or come into contact with animal waste or saliva.

The most common household pets are cats and dogs. The most common infections carried over to humans by cats and dogs are cat scratch disease, rabies and ringworm.

Rabies is caused by a virus that enters the body through a bite or wound and attacks the nervous system. The virus is secreted in saliva and can be fatal. Animals that could be carriers of rabies include cats, dogs, bats and foxes. Human rabies is not very common, thanks to vaccines that are available.

Signs and Symptoms

Animals with rabies are usually anxious or fearful, they are aggressive, and have difficulty swallowing and have excessive drool. Human symptoms appear in 2 stages:

  • Stage One: Fever, headache and fatigue.

  • Stage Two: Confusion, hallucinations and paralysis.

Once symptoms present themselves, the disease is usually fatal.


If your pet has been bitten:

  • Consult with a vet as soon as possible.

  • Pets should immediately be vaccinated or even revaccinated.

  • Animals that have never been vaccinated may be euthanized.

If you have been bitten:

  • Wash the wound thoroughly with antiseptic soap and lots of water immediately.

  • Immediately contact your doctor.

  • If possible, try to capture the animal. Only do this if you won't be bitten again. If the animal can't be captured, memorize its appearance and where it went.

  • People who have been bitten by mammals can be vaccinated against rabies.

  • Prompt treatment can stop the infection and prevent the disease.


  • Pets should be vaccinated against rabies.

  • Do not let your pets roam free outside.

  • Do not keep wild animals as pets.

  • Teach children never to touch unfamiliar animals, even if they appear friendly.

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