Pet owners, as well as anyone who is around dogs, should know that these animals can carry rabies. Rabies is an extremely dangerous virus that is fatal without treatment in the majority of cases. The rabies virus can be excreted in an infected animal’s saliva.
How likely is it for a pet dog to carry rabies? Is treatment necessary?
While the likelihood of a pet dog having rabies is fairly low, it is still important for anyone who has been bitten by a dog to find out if the dog has had a rabies vaccination within the last three years. The majority of rabies vaccinations last for three years before needing a booster. In the case that there are no vaccination records, or if the vaccine was for a shorter length of time, the victim of the bite may need to have rabies antibodies and inoculations to prevent the illness.
What happens if the dog’s vaccination records aren’t available?
When there is no vaccination record, healthy animals will be quarantined and observed daily for 10 days. After that time, they will be given a rabies vaccination and released back to the owner in most cases. If the animal is sick or shows signs of illness, then it will be tested for rabies. If the animal has rabies, it is likely that it will be euthanized.
For the victim of a dog bite, it is important to seek medical attention for the actual wound and bleeding as well as the potential for infection. If rabies is suspected, then immediate treatment will be started with post-exposure prophylaxis.