Rabies is infectious to mammals. Three stages of rabies are recognized in dogs and other animals.
The first stage is a one- to three-day period characterized by behavioral changes and is known as the prodromal stage.
The second stage is the excitative stage, which lasts three to four days. It is this stage that is often known as ''furious rabies'' for the tendency of the affected dog to be hyperreactive to external stimuli and bite at anything near.
The third stage is the paralytic stage and is caused by damage to motor neurons. Incoordination is seen owing to rear limb paralysis and drooling and difficulty swallowing is caused by paralysis of facial and throat muscles. Death is usually caused by respiratory arrest.
As recently as 2004, a new symptom of rabies has been observed in foxes. Probably at the beginning of the prodromal stage, foxes, who are extremely cautious by nature, seem to lose this instinct. Foxes will come into settlements, approach people, and generally behave as if tame. How long such "euphoria" lasts is not known. But even in this state such animals are extremely dangerous, as their saliva and excretions still contain the virus and they remain very unpredictable.
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Last Updated: Oct 8, 2014