Rabies among domestic rodents is a rare occurrence. Infection can occur only in case of contact with an already sick animal. A rabbit can become infected only in a direct encounter with a rabid animal. Thus, in the United States, several cases of infection of domestic rabbits with raccoons that entered the aviary through a damaged fence were noted. In our country, owners of rabbits should be wary of meeting their pet with a stray dog or cat, especially since a predator, even being healthy, still poses a mortal danger to a rabbit. The best way to prevent the disease is to either keep the rabbit at home, or make sure that the walls of the enclosure are strong enough, reliably protecting the rabbit inside.
Rabies. a viral disease characterized by a severe lesion with a system breakdown and ending in a fatal outcome. After penetrating through damaged skin, the rabies virus spreads centripetally along the calves, reaches the central nervous system, and then also goes centrifugally along the nerve trunks to the periphery, causing damage to the entire nervous system. In the same perineural way, the virus enters the salivary glands, secreting itself from the patient’s saliva.
The neurogenic spread of the virus is proved by experiments with ligation of nerve trunks, which prevents the development of the disease. The centrifugal spread of the virus in the second phase of the disease is proved by the same method. The spread of rabies virus through the nerve trunks is about 3 mm / h.
One hypothesis explains the spread of rabies virus along the axoplasm of peripheral nerves to the central nervous system by the influence of the body’s electromagnetic field on negatively charged virions.
In experiments on mice, it is possible to achieve a therapeutic effect by exposing animals to an electric field created by fixing a negative electrode on the head, and a positive electrode on the foot. With the reverse arrangement of the electrodes, infection is stimulated.
The hematogenous and lymphogenic pathways of the virus and the body also play a role. Interestingly, the amino acid sequence of rabies virus glycoprotein is similar to snake venom neurotoxin, which selectively binds to acetylcholine receptors. Presumably, this determines the neurotropy of rabies virus, and its binding to specific neurotransmitter receptors or other molecules of neurons explains the development of autoimmune reactions and the selective defeat of some groups of neurons.
The course of the disease includes several stages. Prodromal stage: uncharacteristic behavior, possibly an excited state, self-harm (rabbit licks, bites the bite area).
Stage of arousal: pronounced atypical behavior. The rabbit is irritable, restless, can growl for no apparent reason, show aggression, decreased or perverted appetite, wandering around the cage or room, loss of orientation in space, rarely cramps.
The paralytic stage ends with the death of the animal. Weakness, paralysis of the pharynx and larynx lead to a violation of the intake of food and water, salivation. Before death comes a coma.
A sick animal may not have all of the symptoms listed, but rabbits die within 10 days after the onset of clinical signs (after the virus enters the brain tissue).
The source of rabies virus for rabbits in nature is wild animals: foxes, badgers, raccoons, bats, etc.
If you or your pet has been bitten by a dog
or a cat (not vaccinated against rabies) or a wild animal, immediately inform the state veterinary service. If possible, a bitten animal should be caught and taken to quarantine for 10 days.
In the case of signs of rabies, the animal is euthanized and the brain tissue is examined for the detection of rabies virus.