The following valuable hints regarding the symptoms of that terrible disease, hydrophobia, are from a lecture delivered in St. Paul, by the Rev. E. C. Mitchell, of that city:
"The period of actual danger begins before it is generally suspected. Hydrophobia is contagious, but it is communicated by actual contact only. The saliva of the rabid animal must enter the absorbents of the body of the victim. Any living being which has the hydrophobia can communicate it to others. Carniverous animals are most liable to hydrophobia. Herbivorous animals are less dangerous, because they do not generally attack with their teeth. We will consider the disease as it develops in the dog. The dog does not at once become furious. The disease is gradual. At first the dog feels uneasy and likes to be petted. It is an important point that, from the very beginning of the disease, the saliva of the animal is a deadly poison. His caresses are as dangerous as his bite. If the saliva of the animal comes in contact with any broken place on the skin, death may result to the victim. Symptoms of hydrophobia: 1, In the outward appearance: the dog becomes sad. dull and retired. He crawls into a corner, or hides. He is uneasy. He arouses with a start, changes position, and lies down, but he can not rest. He is agitated, yet sad. There is a marked change in his disposition. He is already dangerous, but he is not disposed to bite. His uneasiness increases. He scratches his bed, turns it over, smells about the room, under the doors, etc., as though looking for something. He is a victim of hallucination. He snaps at imaginary things in the air. As he grows worse, he runs furiously against a wall, or fence, and howls. He is not yet quarrelsome toward the family. A familiar voice will often restore him to his senses. He is still affectionate. The more he suffers, the more he seeks relief in his master's caresses. The family, thinking the poor dog is sick, caress him. But this saliva is now fatal to human life if it enters the absorbents. Only in the last stages of the disease does the dog become furious and aggressive. 2. Symptoms affecting the digestive organs: Mad dogs do not always avoid water; many will drink water eagerly. In late stages of the disease a contraction of the throat renders them unable to drink. Even then they will often try to drink. Some rabid dogs lose their appetite, but others eat as usual or even more than usual. Many rabid dogs will tear and swallow every thing they can get into their mouths. We ought to suspect a dog that persistently bites at and swallows things unfit for food; except in case of pups, which playfully bite every thing. It is supposed that mad dogs always 'froth at the mouth.' This is a mistake. They ' froth ' during the paroxysms only. But they are equally dangerous at other times. Sometimes the lower jaw is paralyzed and hangs open; the mouth becomes dry, dark red, and covered with brown spots; the eyes are dull and gloomy; the dog can not bite, but his saliva may fall upon persons. The master may think the dog has a bone in his throat and may try to extricate it. But this is highly dangerous. The dog often vomits blood from wounds in the stomach, made by swallowing various sharp articles. The master may incautiously try to help the dog, and may be bitten, or may come in contact with the dog's saliva, which may enter some cut or scratch on the hand. 3. Symptoms in the voice: The bark of a mad-dog is peculiar. The voice is generally weaker than usual, and hoarse and sad. The dog does not fully close his jaws after each bark. In 'dumb madness,' the dog loses his voice. 4. Symptoms as' to nervous sensibility: A mad-dog is much less sensitive to pain, often even indifferent to severe burning or cutting. We ought to suspect every dog that is unnaturally insensible to pain, especially if he bites himself severely. A mad-dog, however quiet, will suddenly grow fierce when he sees another dog. The rabid animal is recklessly brave. Chain a suspected dog and show him another dog; if he becomes furious, kill him. Mad-dogs often run away from home, at a late stage of the disease, and go to some lonely place, to die. But if chased they will return home. Then there is great danger that the unsuspecting family will, from sympathy, receive their lost dog with open arms, to learn, too late, that he is rabid. Suspect every such dog, and close the doors against him; and, if possible, shoot him. It is important to discover hydrophobia during it* early stages, before it is too late. Watch the habits of animals, especially dogs, and chain them securely when showing unusual symptoms.
"Symptoms of confirmed rabies, or madness; The eyes have a sad, dull, yet fierce expression. Periods of excitement and of stupor alternate. Paroxysms generally follow some exciting cause. Every healthy dog has an instinctive dread of a rabid dog. Powerful and fierce dogs will flee from very small rabid dogs; they seem to instinctively know their danger. This is a good test of a dog's condition. Bring other dogs into his presence, and if they all avoid him his case is very suspicious. After the disease has become confirmed, the dog runs along at first, in a natural gait, attacking every thing he meets, especially dogs. But he becomes exhausted, and runs slowly, and staggers. His head and tail hang down. This is the generally recognized condition of mad-dogs, but it is only the last stage. The dog falls, and apparently sleeps. But after rest, if aroused, he will run again, and will attack. But if not disturbed he will die from paralysis and asphyxia.
"The cat sometimes has hydrophobia; and then she is a perfect fury. Her feline nature shows itself: She is so quick she is very dangerous. Her eyes are wild; her hair stands up, and her jaws are open. In later stages she will crawl under something and die. Whenever a cat grows restless, without apparent cause, or is sad and stupid, biting at her bed, and at other things, it is time to put her out of the way.
"Animals do not go mad any more in Summer than in Winter. There are as many mad animals in cold countries as in warm countries. Muzzling dogs in Summer is unnecessary; in fact it is a damage to them, by preventing free perspiration through the tongue.
"In human beings less than half of those who are bitten by mad-dogs ever have hydrophobia. But very few, if any, in whom the disease is actually developed ever recover. In most cases the disease is manifested within two months after the bite, and nearly all the cases have come within three months, but there are a few cases recorded which developed much longer after the bite. The disease, when developed, generally lasts from one to font days. Bites on the unprotected parts of the body are naturally more dangerous, as, on the covered parts, the clothing may absorb the saliva of the rabid animal."