As we have recently heard of several persons who have died of this terrible malady by having been bitten by dogs not supposed to be affected with rabies, a few words of caution on the subject may be of great benefit to the public. It is commonly supposed that this disease in dogs is caused exclusively by hot weather and the want of water. This is a mistaken notion, according to the famous Dr. John Hunter, who states that, for a period of forty years, in Jamaica, a dog was never known to go mad, although great numbers were kept on the island. In Aleppo, in Turkey in Asia, dpgs often die by the heat of the climate and for want of food and water, yet this distemper is unknown among them. Hydrophobia, or fear of water, is a wrong term when applied to dogs, but is correct as applied to human beings. Rabid dogs, according to the experiments of Magendie, do not dread water, nor are they always furious, as is generally believed. The common opinion that they all dread water, and are furious, has led to the many fatal mistakes to which we have alluded in the cases of those persons bitten by dogs not believed to be mad. A peculiar uneasiness, with a slouching gait and wildness of eye, are the truest signs of rabies in a dog. When these are observed, the dog should be confined by his master, or avoided when met. LOOK TO YOtm CISTERNS.—Those who receive their supply of water through cisterns, for drinking and culinary purposes, should take care to clean them outoftenerthan many do.
This article was originally published with the title "Hydrophobia Signs" in Scientific American 13, 51, 401 (August 1858)