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Rabies in pets

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For centuries rabies were one of the most feared diseases. However, it still  causes an average of 59,000 deaths a year in the world. With this article, you will learn more about Rabies disease.



Rabies is an infectious and destructive viral disease (Lyssa-virus) affecting mammals, including dogs, cats, and humans. Approximately 98% of rabies cases are “canine rabies” which is transmitted from dogs to humans. Regular vaccination of dogs and cats is therefore mandatory in many countries (1).


Rabies virus is carried in the saliva of the sick animal. The disease is often transmitted by a bite, and to a lesser extent by contamination of the open wound.

Mann, gebissen von einem Hund (12. Jahrhundert)

Man, bitten by a dog

There are 3 stages of the disease but not all of the infected animals show all three symptom stages.

In the first stage, general symptoms may be observed which are not very specific. These are:

In the second phase (aggression) of the disease, other symptoms may start. These symptoms are:

In the third phase of the disease, neurological symptoms occur. These are:

Death takes shape after the last stage (stumme wut).

Risk factors

Did you know?
Rabies can be transmitted by air to animals and humans entering the bat lair (2).


There is no treatment for rabies disease.
If rabies is suspected in any animal with inadequate vaccination with neurological symptoms, quarantine and euthanasia measures are taken.


Although rabies is very rare in Germany, each animal is required to receive a rabies vaccination. Vaccination is the only effective and protective method against rabies.
You should visit your veterinarian regularly and keep your pet’s vaccine up to date by using Petleo Vaccination planner.
When transporting animals from a country where rabies is existing to Germany, make sure that the dog or cat’s vaccines are complete and sufficient.


Remember, rabies is a deadly disease for both animals and humans. The most common transmission occurs from dogs and cats through humans. The only preventive method against Rabies is a vaccination.





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Fulya S.
Fulya is Co-Founder and a Veterinarian at PetLEO. Besides her Ph.D. and her work at Tierklinik Ismaning, she supports PetLEO with all her power and expertise.


Canine rabiesLyssaRabies

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