Will My Child Get Rabies From A Dog Bite?

Mark Gordon Brown By Mark Gordon Brown, 20th Sep 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Children's Health

If your child was bitten by a dog you might be concerned if your child is at risk for getting rabies? Can children get rabies from a vaccinated dog? How to know if your child is infected with rabies. How to tell if a dog is carrying rabies.

Your Child Has Been Bit By A Dog, What Now?

There are several things you need to do if your child has been bitten by a dog, panicking over rabies is not one of them because rabies is very slow moving at the best of times, so while it could be a risk, it is good to remain calm so your child does not panic.

First check the child to see if the skin was broken. If the skin was not broken there is no risk. Rabies can only spread if saliva enters the blood stream. It is a virus and cannot live long in the air, it requires getting into the blood stream to be a risk.

If the skin was broken then your immediate attention should be on the dog. If it is not your dog then you must find out whose dog it is, if it is a stray dog, and you feel you can catch it go ahead, but if the dog is at all aggressive try to photograph it and call your local police station/by-law office, or animal control, and report that the dog has bitten a child and is acting dangerously and you need it caught because of the risk of rabies.

Determining if the Dog Has Rabies

Rabies is a virus only found in mammals. Raccoons are one of the most likely animals to spread rabies to dogs, but foxes, bats, and other mammals can also spread rabies to a dog, but only if they bite the dog.

Rabies affects the brain. An animal is bitten and the rabies virus slowly travels to the brain, only then can the virus spread via the saliva. A rabid animal may show symptoms of abnormal behavior (such as a nocturnal animal being out in the day). They are often afraid of water, and foaming at the mouth is common. Infected animals always die within 10 days of the virus reaching their brain.

If you own the dog and it is vaccinated (call your veterinarian to determine if it is up to date on the rabies vaccine) then it likely does not have rabies and was biting the child for other reasons (kids often send mixed signals to dogs, causing the dog to become frustrated and they bite as a response). If you can find the owner of the dog they need to prove the dog is up to date on its rabies vaccine.

If the dog is an unknown stray and can be caught, or is a dog that is not vaccinated, it is placed on a 10 days rabies hold in a veterinarian's office, or animal shelter. If the dog dies within the 10 days it's head is removed and sent for testing to determine if rabies was the cause.

What Happens to the Child

If it is determined that the dog has rabies, the child would be given a serious of injections to prevent further development of rabies.

If the dog is not caught and cannot be placed on a rabies hold, doctors might suggest starting the child on the course of rabies prevention medication especially if rabies is common in your area.

Again, do not panic, even if it is determined that rabies is a risk, the virus is very slow moving and can take months before reaching the brain, doctors will work to prevent this from happening.

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Child, Daughter, Dog, Dog Bite, Dog Bites, Got Bit, Have Rabies, Kid, Rabid Animal, Rabies Virus, Risk Of Rabies, Son

Meet the author

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
Raised in Michigan, I have a son who recently joined the Military. I am living in Canada with my wife where we have a hobby farm.

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author avatar brendamarie
20th Sep 2015 (#)

great advice about rabies. I am so glad, i have never run into this problem.

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
20th Sep 2015 (#)

Mark, thanks for sharing your article. I always wondered what would happen if a person or child was bit by a dog. This is a scary thing to happen and knowing what the procedure is could be lifesaving. I love Brenda's drawing. She is so talented.

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author avatar Carol Roach
22nd Sep 2015 (#)

If I had a child that was bitten by a strange animal, it would take it for treatment immediately, here is a quote from GARC rabiesalliance.com

Have I been exposed to rabies?

If you been bitten or scratched by an animal that is unknown to you and/or that appears unwell, you may have been exposed to rabies.

Please take any potential exposure seriously. Throughly wash the wound with soap and water and seek urgent medical attention.

90% of human rabies cases are caused by a bite (or scratch) from a rabid dog.

The rabies virus becomes noninfectious when it dries out and when it is exposed to sunlight.
- See more at: http://rabiesalliance.org/rabies/what-is-rabies-and-frequently-asked-questions/exposure-prevention-treatment/#sthash.oIfvFmap.dpuf

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author avatar Ptrikha
22nd Sep 2015 (#)

I was once bitten by a dog and had to get 5 injections over a period of almost a month. I think it is very important to have injections as soon as possible when the dog bites.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
23rd Sep 2015 (#)

I once got bitten by a dog and almost went to the Doctor to get ten shoots on the belly at the times, the dog was from a local fire department. Still thanks for the heads up my friend and nicely explained

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author avatar jak2010
24th Sep 2015 (#)

In my village where modern medicince is rarely available, we clean dogs bites with hot water and dress it with clean leaves.

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author avatar peachpurple
26th Sep 2015 (#)

Good tips helpful for those with toddlers

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author avatar Susan Hauck
29th Sep 2015 (#)

This is chalked full of information. It's a great reference article!

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
10th Oct 2015 (#)

A stray dog bumped onto my calf years ago and people around said it was a rabid dog in the way it behaved.

As there was no wound I moved on, but I did worry whether what I did was wise! siva

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author avatar BubbaGump
25th Oct 2015 (#)

great articles. thanks for the tsu referall. i appreciate it

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