wcvmclinical signs
Virus Characteristics
Clinical Signs
Treatment and Prevention

There are two main forms of Rabies, a ‘furious’ form where the animal infected shows a heightened amount of aggression and a ‘dumb or paralytic’ form in which the disease in mostly manifested by paralysis.

Furious Form

furious rabies

Watch a video of a dog with Furious Rabies!

This form may be seen in all species. The animal is tense, very irritable and is hypersensitive to sound and motion. They’ll use aggression and violently attack when provoked. Infected animals will have dilated pupils, stare intently and are very anxious. They lose their sense of caution and become unafraid of other animals or people. Rabid dogs may chew on their cages when confined, breaking their teeth. Some dogs also develop pica, where they eat unsual objects like wood. As the disease progresses, the animals show incoordination and may commonly have seizures.

Dumb or Paralytic Form

rabid dog

Watch a video of a dog with Paralytic Rabies!

Animals that have this form will have an excessive amount of saliva drooling because of their inability to swallow manifested by a paralysis of the throat. Many dogs may lick at the site of infection. Animals will show weakness, have a decreased sensation and may not be vicious or try to bite. Coma and death follow shortly.

Species Variations


Cow chasing dog

If cattle have furious rabies they may pursue and attack people or other animals. Cows will stop lactation suddenly and become alert and anxious. They may also start bellowing abnormally just before death. 


rolling horse

Horses will become distressed and agitated. They will roll which may be taken as a sign of colic. Self inflicted wounds may also occur and they may bite, strike or kick.

Foxes and coyotes  


These wildlife will invade peoples yards and attack dogs or people. If wildlife have porcupine quills this is usually an indicator of rabies.



Cats mostly develop the furious form of the virus. They show erratic unsual behaviour such as running around until they 'die' of exhaustion. Some cats will be described as having anxious, blank, spooky stare. They will be vicious and bit or scratch at objects. They may also develop muscle tremors amd incoordination.