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Dog Bite : Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What should be the first aid in case of a dog bite?
Answer:
Following first aid should be provided-

1. The bite area should be washed with liberal amount of water and mild soap solution.

2. The wound can be cleaned using ethanol, tincture iodine, or other antiseptics like Dettol or Savlon.

3. In some extensive deep wounds, thorough exploration, debridement, removal of dirt, dead tissue, and foreign bodies may be required in a hospital.

4. Do not apply any powder (e.g. turmeric powder/chilly powder) over the wound.

5. Tetanus toxoid injection and correct post bite prophylaxis should be followed.

6. Systemic antibiotics are recommended to prevent wound sepsis.

Q. What is post exposure immunization in case of dog bite?
Answer:
The post exposure immunization schedule consist of 5 Anti-Rabies vaccines after dog bite, to be given on day 0, 3, 7, 14 and 28 with an optional booster on day 90.

Q. When should post exposure immunization start?
Answer:
It starts on the day of dog bite (within 24 hours from dog bite).

Q. Is anti-rabies vaccine necessary if a 2 months old puppy born out of an un-vaccinated mother bites?
Answer:
Yes, one should immediately seek for medical advice and start the vaccination schedule (known as Post Exposure Prophylaxis – PEP). Simultaneously keeping a close watch on the pup up to 10-14 days, if the pup remains free from clinical rabies symptoms beyond this period, one can discontinue remaining vaccine shots in the PEP course.

Q. Should a person take post exposure immunization if bitten by a vaccinated dog?
Answer:
Vaccinating the pet dog is primarily to protect it against contracting rabies following bites by stray rabid dogs/animals. Rabies is enzootic in our stray animal/dog population.  In view of the above facts and practical realities, rabies being 100% fatal, we take no chances and start Post exposure immunization in the bitten person. Simultaneously keeping a close watch on the dog up to 10-14 days, if the dog remains free from clinical rabies symptoms beyond this period, one can discontinue remaining vaccine shots in the PEP course.

Q. How long it takes to develop rabies symptoms after a dog bite?
Answer:
It takes about 10 days to 2 months and sometimes even longer. This is known as the incubation period.

Q. How can we diagnose an animal that is infected with Rabies virus?
Answer:
The animal starts behaving differently & abnormally, goes to dark corners, becomes restless, shows unusual agitation and develops fever. In the more common variety Viz., Furious rabies the animal becomes dangerously aggressive, bites its own chain, stones, paper, wood, Iron, metal objects and any imaginary objects. In this process may even bite man and other animals. Later due to paralysis of jaws there is drooling of saliva, and the vocal cord paralysis leads to change in tone of barks. In the end there is muscular incardination.

Q. Can we take the milk of a rabied animal (Cow/Buffalo/Goat)? If the milk is drunk accidentally should the post exposure treatment start?
Answer:
Preferably it should not be taken as rabies virus is excreted in the milk. But Drinking of boiled milk (even heated milk) of rabid animal do not require post exposure treatment.

Q. What schedule you recommend for a dog/cat in India? At what age should a pup born to an unvaccinated mother be vaccinated against rabies? When should the booster anti-rabies shot be given in this pup?
Answer:
Primary vaccination in case of dogs should be done at the age of 3 months. However, if the primary vaccination is done at an earlier age (at or after 60 days), then a repeat vaccination must be given at the age of 3 months or after 21 to 30 days of 1st vaccination.

Revaccination is recommended every 3 years normally, but since in Indian conditions the disease is endemic in nature, it should be done on an annual basis.

Q. Can this vaccine be used during pregnancy?
Answer:
Yes, vaccine is quite sate for pregnant animals.

Q. How long it takes to become the animal immune after vaccination?
Answer:
Vaccination leads to a high peak of antibodies within 3 weeks, followed by more or less constant levels to maintain sufficiently high to provide protection.

Q. Is it possible that the puppies born with rabies?
Answer:
Puppies cannot born with rabies.
But the problem is that the mothers milk may contain the rabies virus if the bitch is suffering from the infection.So the puppies born from the rabied female is at a higher risk as mother lick the puppies.


For any more queries please feel free to contact us.
Dr. Nath B., M.V.Sc.
Pet’s Heaven – A Pet Clinic & Pet Shop near Magarpatta - Hadapsar, Pune.
Mobile: 8380936968
Email: contact@petsheaven.in

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