Pseudo-rabies – Aujeszky’s disease in dogs and cats
Pseudo-rabies or Aujeszky’s disease is an infectious disease which appears both in wild as well as in domestic animals and it mustn’t be mistaken for rabies, although there are certain clinical similarities. The disease was first discovered in 1902, by A. Aujeszky in Hungary. The agent that causes the disease is a Herpesvirus called Suid herpesvirus 1. It determines latent infections in the sensitive ganglion on the nerve system. The only animal in which the virus determines clinical and latent infections is the pig; in other animals (dogs, cats, horses, calves, goats, sheep etc) it causes deadly infections.
- Pseudo-rabies – Aujeszky’s disease in dogs
In dogs, this disease appears as a consequence of consuming infected pork and it always has lethal endings. The dogs can also get infected from rodents or through airways. Hunting dogs or those trained to find traces got sick by taking the virus from the lands on which sick pigs lived.
Symptoms of Aujeszky’s disease in dogs:
The dog experiences an initial state of apathy, drowsiness and a general state of sickness.
It loses its appetite.
It no longer answers to its owner’s callings.
It drinks water constantly.
It has a general state of anxiety, it changes its place often and it tends to become scared every time someone gets close.
It becomes aggressive towards other dogs, but not towards humans.
One day later, a violet rash appears and which licks and bites to self-mutilation. The most affected areas are the lips, ears and the limbs extremities.
It barks a lot, but not as much as in the case of rabies.
Shortly after the rash, the first signs of pharyngeal paralysis appear and the dog salivates abundantly.
The body temperature is 39,5-40ºC and towards the end, the dog suffers from hypothermia.
The paralysis may increase gradually and it may be installed in other areas of its body or it may be general from the beginning. In any of the two cases, death occurs shortly after the paralyses phase.
The evolution of the disease lasts for 1-2 days and it usually ends with the death of the animal.
The diagnosis is made by the veterinarian and can be confirmed by laboratory tests. The doctor will determine whether it is rabies or pseudo-rabies. In the case of rabies, the disease lasts 3 times more than Aujeszky’s disease. The paralysis is longer, the aggressiveness is increased and more frequent and the violent rash doesn’t appear.
In order to prevent the disease, don’t feed the dog with raw pork meat or the water in which the contaminated meat was washed in. Hunting dogs shouldn’t be taken to areas with sick pig herds.
- Pseudo-rabies – Aujeszky’s disease in cats
Cats can get sick as a consequence of infected pork consumption – generally pork lung.
Symptoms of Aujeszky’s disease in cats:
The cat is apathetic, it has a strange gait and its back is curved.
It moans in pain and it stays secluded in a corner.
When purring, it meows from time to time as if it were crying.
Its meowing is thick and it becomes weaker as the disease progresses.
It has a rapid pulse and a dyspneic breath.
It loses its appetite.
It starts salivating abundantly due to the pharyngeal paralysis and the saliva wets its anterior limbs and its chest.
Its pupils are dilated and the rash is less frequent than in dogs. It appears on the head in 50% of the cases – generally head and lips – it manifests violently and it leads to self-mutilation.
The cat is neither aggressive nor angry.
The disease lasts for 1-2 days and it ends with the death of the animal.
This disease is only healed in extremely rare cases. There is no drug for treating the disease, but there are vaccines to prevent it. They however only protect the cat for a short period of time.