Rabid animals may or may not show aggressive behavior. One pattern of manifestation is paralytic rabies or “dumb” rabies. This is where the virus makes an animal lethargic, causing limbs to become limp.
The pattern that you are familiar with is the aggressive rabies or “furious” rabies. This is because the virus targets nerves where the victim is in enormous pain as well as extreme hypersensitivity to touch and other senses–even fear towards water This combination makes a vicous animal.
Rabies is a disease which primarily affects the brain, innappropriately causing the stimulation of those cerebral regions which control emotional and physical response to stimuli. This is why victims in the “agressive” or “furious” stage of rabies act apprehensive, hyperexcitable, and irritable — changes in temperment (from mellow to uncontrollable) are brought about by the disease physically ravaging and dissolving the brain structures which control these responses.
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