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rabies question

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  • rabies question

    Well, multiple questions, I guess.
    My friend's dog got away from her and was lost for 20 days. During that time, it is assumed she was loose in the river area. She never had the dog vaccinated for rabies. She was covered in ticks, had ear infections and was treated for an anticoagulant poison after she began bleeding from her gums and ears. It has been a very long week since they found her, but she is home now and recovering. She is concerned the dog may have picked up rabies since she was exposed for all that time and there were bones of small animals in her stomach. Her main question, besides whether the dog has rabies, is what about her other pets? When would the dog become contagious if she does have it? is it silent during the contagious stage, or only contagious when symptomatic?
    I know there are people out there who know these answers! Thank you in advance.
    Oh, and rabies is present and active in the wildlife in our county. There was a recent necropsy that was postitive for rabies.

  • #2
    please refer to this page for info on rabies very informative,


    • #3
      OK,so what I got out of that is that since she doesn't know what the heck her dog was doing for those 20 days, it should be locked away with no contact for 6 months? Or she should euthanize it? I am not a medically trained person, and while reasonably intelligent, my head was spinning after reading that.


      • #4
        Lucy, I know it seems harsh, but that IS what they recommend. Keeping in mind, rabies, once contracted, is always fatal. And it's not a pleasant way to die.

        OK, just so no one feels the need to point it out, there has been one documented case of a human surviving rabies. But that's not something I'd consider if I were facing the possibility of exposure. If I got it, I'd plan on dying from it.


        • #5
          So, since the dog has been in contact with her, 3 different vets, 2 other animals, then now what is the best thing to do? It has been a week and a half since they found her and they have been caring for her. The vet only told her that it could be 3-8 weeks to see the signs of the disease and to monitor her and bring her in if she acted weird. Should she get shots for herself, her husband and the other dog and the cat? Is there a shot series for the animals like there is for the humans? What I didn't understand is if she contacted an animal with rabies, and she now has the virus, is she contagious through sharing a water bowl, licking the people, etc now or until she shows symptoms?


          • #6
            Has the dog ever been vaccinated? Just curious, since it may still have some immunity from a vaccine given several years before.

            Human shots are not like the animal ones. They do not give you full coverage, they just make it easier to treat. It takes three shots (which make you rather sore) over the course of a month. Depending on her insurance they may be at least partially covered.

            I would get the other pets their rabies for sure as long as they don't have a history of vaccine allergies.

            Yes, if the dog is infected she will be shedding it in her saliva before symptoms start to show.

            I would look into the rate of rabies infection in your area before deciding too much, if you live in an area that has a low rate of it there is less chance of her getting it, if you are in an endemic area the risk is higher. That may make the difference between a quarantine and euthanasia decision for the owner. Either way, the owners should tread lightly and treat the dog like it is infected.

            We obviously aren't experts here so the owner should talk to her doctor and her vet. (at least I don't think anyone is)


            • #7
              Actually, after talking to my boss, she may have no choice in the matter. It may be the law. She should check into it with her local animal control officer. If this turns out to be the case, she should take her vet to task for not knowing this, as she may also need to be treated, along with anyone else who has had contact with the dog. If it's not already too late.

              There is no treatment for rabies. There is, to my knowledge, only one confirmed case of rabies in a human where the person actually survived the disease. There have been a couple of cases where the presumptive diagnosis was rabies, but it was never confirmed. Both were children, both survived, but one is in a persistent vegitative state.

              This disease is a death sentence unless you receive innoculations in time. The CDC protocol for post exposure treatment is an initial dose of human rabies immune globulin followed by 4 (not 3) doses of rabies vaccine.


              • #8
                Thank you Helly for taking the extra time. I will let her know. I know it will break her heart, but people must be safe.


                • #9
                  Rabies can be treated in humans if started as soon as possible after exposure (same day generally) and before symptoms show. I think you have a bigger time window if you have been vaccinated, but I am not sure.

                  Animals are out of luck if they catch it, sadly.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by sarahliz View Post
                    Rabies can be treated in humans if started as soon as possible after exposure (same day generally) and before symptoms show. I think you have a bigger time window if you have been vaccinated, but I am not sure.

                    Animals are out of luck if they catch it, sadly.
                    That is not treatment. It is prophylaxis, intended to prevent you actually becoming infected. It doesn't always work, although the modern vaccine is a lot more effective and a lot less risky than the old one. If you have been vaccinated in the past, what protocol they use will depend on if you're vaccination is up to date or not. Just like animals, once you catch it, you're out of luck. There is NO effective treatment if you catch rabies. It's pretty much a given fact that if you catch it, you die.


                    • #11
                      I was mostly running off of what I was told when I got vaccinated before I spent a summer in Thailand. It's been a few years.