Dogs or mongooses? What causes rabies infection in catttle? 

Ranjith Chathoth

Representative Image | Photo: Mathrubhumi

Kannur: With panic spread over stray dog attacks in the state, three cows succumbed to rabies infection in Kannur within a week. A case was also reported in Thrissur. Among the dead cows, the possibilities to sustain dog bite is low in the case of cows that died in Chala and Chittariparamba as they were safely sheltered in the cattle sheds near the houses. Meanwhile, the rabid cow that caused an alarming situation in the Kannur town had a mark similar to dog bite on its foot and was more prone to stray dog attacks.

Apart from dogs and cats, cattle is likely to be attacked by mongooses or jackals, which cause the infection.

A scratch or minor marks with the teeth of the rabid animals can result in infection among cattle. The incubation period ranges from 2 to 12 weeks in cattle. However, the minor injuries from the attack of rabid animals might have healed by this time, said Dr M Muhammed Asif from Kanhangad veterinary hospital.

Dogs and cats are not regular carriers of rabies infection. The virus emerges in the saliva of animals only 5 days before they start displaying attributes of the infection. The animal usually dies within five-seven days of showing signs of infection. If the animal does not attack any creatures during the period of infection, the transmission cycle of the virus ends there.

Mongooses can be considered as the reservoirs of rabies virus, opined Dr Muhammed Asif. Studies have to be conducted in the state to detect the presence of rabies among native mongooses, he said.

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