Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Are you aware of Animal diseases that affect human beings

Many of us keep dogs but fail to know the risks associated with keeping them. in this series of posts, I will highlight the major diseases that affect dogs and how they may also affect human beings.

Rabies is a notifiable zoonotic disease of canines. This means that if you suspect that your animal has rabies, immediate action should be taken. The disease has a wide range of host and it can affect even humans who get in contact with affected dogs.

The disease is caused by a virus found in the saliva of dogs and it is transmitted by the bite of an animal which has the disease.The disease affects mainly carnivores more especially the canines which is the animal of interest here.

Rabies is common in Kenya and that is why it is important to take note of it. Since many people are adapting to the culture of keeping dogs as pets at home, there is a risk of rabies infections. Even cats can be infected with rabies. Rabies can also be transmitted through wounds on skin with saliva from animals which are infected.

Once the rabies virus enters the body, it goes into the nerves or muscles and multiplies slowly for a given period of time without any obvious signs. The virus will then move into the spinal cord and enters the brain as a result.

When it reaches the brain it is a bad state where the brain gets inflamed and nerves begin to be destroyed. The virus will then go back to the salivary gland where it can be transmitted to other animals. Generally that is the life cycle of the rabies virus.

For a person infected with rabies they may show several symptoms which can be used to diagnose the condition. The signs include change in behaviour, increased salivation, paralysis and incoordination.The dog may also get excessively furious and aggressive and the dog appears as if it has gone mad. It will chase chicken, children and even people around them including the owner. They always fear and react to noise with the same aggressive behaviour. The dog may also appear to have epilepsy since the brain is usually affected. Once you see such signs report the case to the nearest veterinarian.

This is risky since at times the owner may confuse the animal’s behaviour for playfulness and get bitten and infected as a result. This condition should be attended to very quickly. If you see any bite marks on your animal and it is not vaccinated for rabies, make sure you take your dog to a vet. 

To avoid your dog from being infected by rabies vaccinate the dog against rabies. The vaccine is given at a minimum of 100 shillings depending on the veterinarian. The vaccination should be done annually. You should also make sure your dogs are not always roaming outside the compound as they may be easily infected by other stray dogs through fights. 

After vaccination there is a vaccination certificate given and this means you cannot just buy the vaccine from an agro vet and inject your animal since it will not be legal and if your dog bites a person, you will have to pay dearly. The current treatment for human beings for rabies suspected cases ranges from 6000 shillings minimum. To avoid such it is better to avoid using shortcuts.

If your dog is found to have rabies, the whole family is to be vaccinated against rabies as a caution which is mandatory. If there are other animals in the compound it is advisable to vaccinate them too. Cows can be infected by rabies and as a result infect the person taking care of them. 

Dogs which are found to show signs of rabies never recover thus the main action taken is killing the dog. This is the same for human beings. If you get infected by rabies and start to show signs, you will definitely die. Information is power and now that you know the risks associated with rabid dogs, take the necessary action.