Since prehistoric times, as humans became hunter-gatherers, dogs have been loyal partners. When the agricultural revolution began, they guarded our farms and households. Nowadays, they are seen as more of a beloved companion or friend hanging around in our homes. However, if we are not cautious, we can receive a handful of dangerous, potentially life-threatening diseases from them. This article will discuss these diseases, what to do should you get infected and what dog owners can do to avoid all these diseases.

Firstly, there are diseases which are transmitted from dogs to humans, such as rabies. Rabies is a viral disease that first infects the dog. When an infected dog either bites, licks or scratches a person, the Rabies virus is spread through its saliva. The saliva from an infected dog can also transmit rabies if it comes into contact with open cavities like the eyes, nose or mouth. Once infected, the virus travels through the peripheral nerves towards the central nervous system. It is important to note that once the virus is present in the brain and symptoms appear, it is virtually 100% fatal, resulting in death with no cure. The incubation period, which is the time taken for symptoms to appear, can vary but is roughly around two weeks. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, headache, fever, confusion, abnormal behaviour, hydrophobia (fear of water), excessive salivary secretion, hallucinations, hyperactivity & partial paralysis.

It is strongly recommended to take the precautionary measures. These are getting your pet dog (or cat) timely rabies vaccinations, to immediately wash the area of an animal bite thoroughly with water and soap when bitten, and for a person to get the vaccination immediately after being bitten. There are two types of rabies vaccines: the antigen vaccine and antibody (immunoglobulin) vaccine. After being bitten by an animal, it is strongly advised to pay your medical clinic a visit and consult your doctor regarding your bite to see which vaccine should be used.

It is ideal for dog owners to have regular veterinary follow-ups to see if there are any bacterial infections that require antibiotics or any other medical issue. Alongside this, it is very important to groom your dog. Wash your dog regularly. Maintain your dog’s hygiene. Make sure you raise your dog in a safe, clean environment. If we carefully do all of these things, we can minimise the risk of both our pets as well as ourselves from getting infected, and families can continue enjoying spending time with their pets.

Article Credits:
Dr. Vinay Mohan, General Consultant, CareMithra
Rohan Panicker, Creative Writer. CareMithra