This is one of the most fearful and agonizing diseases on record, and what adds still more to the terror inspired by its name, but. very little success has as yet been met with, in its treatment.
The disease follows the bite of a rabid animal, not however immediately. The wound may seem perfectly healthy, and heal as kindly as if no poison had been infused into it by the bite of the animal. In the course however of a period, varying from three weeks to eighteen months, - and some say years may elapse, - the premonitory symptoms set in. The bitten parts present a livid and slightly swollen appearance, which is accompanied by burning heat and sharp pain, extending toward the central part of the body. Very soon after this local irritation commences, sometimes even in a few hours, the specific constitutional symptoms begin. The patient is hurried and irritable; there is pain and stiffness about the neck and throat, and every attempt to swallow fluids brings on a paroxysm of choking and sobbing. As the disease advances, the eyes become red and brilliant, and highly sensitive to light, the cramps about the throat, neck, and chest, more and more violent, until the sight of liquid or any shining substance, or even the passing of a gust of wind over the face, produce the most painful paroxysm. A viscid saliva is constantly secreted, and notwithstanding the most intense thirst is present, the patient cannot drink for fear of bringing on the fearful spasm. As the disease advances, the old wound opens and discharges an offensive substance, respiration becomes more difficult, the countenance is haggard, the eyes sunken, but still brilliant; there is delirium of a wandering or violent character, constant inclination to bite, loss of voice, sinking of the pulse, until at length, death comes, as a welcome messenger to relieve the poor victim of his tortures.
Where a person has been bitten by an animal supposed to be rabid, the bitten part should be immediately cut out or cauterized with caustic potash or some other burning substance. Belladonna may be used as a preventive and also during the disease. As a preventive, six globules, may be taken every other night for two weeks. During the disease two drops, or twelve globules, may be mixed with a tumbler of water, and a tablespoonful given every hour or two hours.