Disease Overview

Rabies is a fatal disease that attacks the nervous system. All warm-blooded animals, including humans, are vulnerable to infection with rabies virus. Most human exposures result from contact with domestic species, such as dogs, cats, horses, or cattle. Worldwide, more than 30,000 people die from rabies each year.29

Merck Animal Health Solutions

For Rabies


The disease is usually transmitted through saliva from a bite but may also be spread if the infected saliva enters the body through a cut or comes in contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth.

Clinical Signs29

  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Slight/partial paralysis
  • Excitation
  • Agitation
  • Aggression
  • Hypersalivation
  • Difficulty swallowing

Risk Factors

  • Pets that live or play outside
  • Pets that interact with wild animals


29. Greene C, Rupprecht C. Rabies and other lyssavirus infections. In: Greene CE, ed. Infectious Diseases of the Dog and Cat. 3rd ed. St. Louis, MO: Saunders/Elsevier; 2006:167–183.