This section is from the book "Sporting Dogs. Their Points And Management In Health, And Disease", by Frank Townend Barton. Also available from Amazon: Sporting Dogs; Their Points and Management in Health and Disease.
Although not present in our own country, it is very prevalent in certain provinces in India, etc.
The muzzling order and quarantine has been the means of abolishing this deadly malady from England.
In ninety-nine per cent, of cases in India, the disease is directly due to animals left to stray from the bazaars and villages.
At one time rabies was very prevalent in England, therefore cases of hydrophobia were not infrequent. Moreover other animals (horses, sheep, cattle, deer, etc.) had the malady through having been bitten by a rabid dog.
This disease assumes two distinct forms, one known as the " furious " and the other " dumb " rabies. One of the earliest indications of rabies is an alteration of the dog's manner. He becomes restless, quarrelsome, and shy, having a strong inclination to wander from home.
At first the animal is able to drink, but very shortly he is unable, though evidently willing to do so. A depraved appetite is a singularly constant feature of rabies, gnawing at wood and snapping at imaginary (also real) objects.
A rabid dog has no particular inclination to seek objects for revenge; the injuries he inflicts beings agents that he regards as intercepting his onward march.
The author had, some years since, considerable experience amongst cases of rabies, and often innocent owners would bring rabid dogs for treatment!!
A very characteristic — though we cannot say pathognomonic—sign of rabies, is an alteration in the bark, and this is changed to a semi-bark and howl, easily recognised when heard a second time.
A rabid dog generally knows his master until overcome by the fury of the disease.
Most dogs succumb within a week after the advent of the first signs of the complaint. From a week to three months may be set down as the minimum and maximum periods for the development (incubation) of rabies, after the dog has been bitten by a rabid animal, or received the virus of the malady into its system, such as might occur through rubbing, licking, etc., upon a mucous surface.
There are many other minor signs of rabies, and in the so-called "dumb" form, the most diagnostic one is dropping of the lower jaw, accompanied by a snuffling sound.
Although this latter might be confused with paralysis of the lower jaw from injury to the nerve, etc., the history of the case will afford the most reliable guide, when forming an opinion.
If rabies is suspected, isolation and destruction should be carried out at once. The speedier the better.
Before concluding, the writer wishes to say that the bite of a dog in ordinary health is no more injurious than a wound inflicted by any other means, and that the sooner this stupid fallacy explodes the better for beast and man.
To destroy a healthy dog because it happens to have bitten a person is akin to madness.