Do I Need a Rabies Shot After a Dog Bite?
If you are injured in a dog bite attack, you may be wondering whether you need a rabies shot. The good news is that most domestic animals such as dogs and cats have received rabies vaccines, making the likelihood that they have rabies very low. While rare, it is possible for dog that bites you to have rabies. Therefore, it’s important to understand the warning signs and the proper precautions to take in the event of a dog bite attack.
What Is Rabies?
Rabies is a virus that invades the central nervous system and impairs its ability to function properly. It is spread by the saliva of an infected animal. In most instances, this transmission occurs when you are bitten by the animal. However, it is possible to contract rabies from any contact with the animal’s saliva if you have an exposed cut or if the saliva gets into your eyes, nose or mouth. Without proper treatment after exposure to rabies, the virus can be fatal.
The incubation period for rabies can range from several weeks to several months. As the virus attacks your nervous system, you may begin to exhibit flu-like symptoms such as fever, headaches and general discomfort. Within a few days, symptoms may progress to include:
- Abnormal behavior
Once these symptoms develop, rabies is usually fatal. For this reason, it’s critical to seek prompt medical attention if you believe the dog that attacked you may have rabies.
Factors Impacting Whether You May Need a Rabies Shot
There are several factors that impact whether you will need a rabies shot after a dog bite attack. Ultimately, you should consult your doctor to determine the best course of action, including whether a rabies shot is necessary as a precautionary measure.
In most instances, you won’t need a rabies shot if the dog that bit you was vaccinated against the virus. Therefore, you should always ask the dog owner to provide documentation of the animal’s vaccination record.
If you’re unable to locate the owner, you’re unsure whether the dog has received rabies shots or if you know for certain that it hasn’t been vaccinated, you’ll need to take the following steps:
- If the dog appears healthy, it should be held for observation in a veterinary clinic for 10 days. If the dog stays healthy throughout this observation period, you won’t need rabies shots.
- If the dog is suspected to have rabies or if it cannot be observed for 10 days, you should visit your doctor immediately. In this situation, you will most likely need rabies shots.
- Dogs with rabies are more likely to bite when they aren’t provoked. Therefore, if the attack wasn’t provoked and you’re uncertain as to whether the dog has rabies, you should visit your doctor immediately. Rabies shots may be recommended as a precautionary measure.
- If you are bitten multiple times on or near the head, there is a greater chance of getting rabies. In these situations, a rabies shot may be recommended as a precautionary measure.
Pushchak Law Can Help After a Dog Bite Attack
If you’ve been injured in a dog bite attack, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your damages. Pushchak Law is here to help. Denver dog bite attorney Brian Pushchak has made this area of law a specialization of his practice, and he understands the complex laws governing these cases. He can advise you on the proper steps to take after being bitten, including whether you need to ask a doctor about rabies shots.
Mr. Pushchak has developed a unique Informed Decisions Approach™ which ensures you receive the best possible outcome to your case. This approach allows you to remain in control of every aspect of your case while providing you with the education and information you need to truly understand your options. Mr. Pushchak will explain your options and answer any questions you may have, and he will recommend the best legal strategy to achieve your desired outcome for the case. Mr. Pushchak will also provide you with his personal contact information, ensuring you can reach him anytime you have questions or concerns.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Pushchak Law serves clients in Denver and the surrounding areas of Colorado.
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