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Do I need anti-rabies prophylaxis after a dog bite?

You were walking down a trail at a park when you heard rustling in the bushes. You noticed a wagging tail, so you pushed the leaves aside to find a small dog. It appears trapped, so you reach in to get it out.

It's at that point that the animal becomes fearful and bares its fangs. You couldn't pull away in time, and you've been left with injuries. While you were able to free the pet to secure it and it is now acting normally, you still want to know that he or she isn't carrying a deadly disease.

That deadly disease is rabies. The dog has no tags, and even if it has a microchip, that won't let you know if it's sick. What can you do? Do you have to have anti-rabies prophylaxis?

In most cases, when an animal is not showing signs of rabies, it's unable to transmit the disease. To transmit it, it must have the infection in its saliva. Since that is the case, the dog in your situation may be able to be quarantined for 10 days. If it does not fall ill, the likelihood that you'll develop rabies is nearly nonexistent. If it does fall ill during that time, then you may need to begin anti-rabies prophylaxis immediately.

Even if you don't develop this dangerous disease, there are many other conditions and infections that can result from a dog bite. It's a good idea to reach out to someone who can help you seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and other financial losses.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Domestic Animals," accessed June 28, 2017

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