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Why is Dog bite so important?

Bite of an infected Dog (or of horse, monkey, bat etc) causes Rabies, which is a near 100% fatal disease, caused by the Rabies virus affecting the central nervous system. Rabies can ONLY be prevented, there is NO cure/ treatment.


Rabies virus in the saliva of infected animal passes to humans through broken skin (bite or lick on already broken skin or mucous membrane). Virus travels slowly from the bite area to the brain.

Animals that are commonly infected include dogs (especially stray dogs), bats, horses and monkeys. Other animals can also be infected, so consult your family doctor after ANY animal bite.

Risk Increases With

  • Multiple bites or bites on the face, head, neck or upper body.
  • Outdoor activities that involve exposure to wild animals especially dog handlers.


It is recommended that after every bite universal precautions are taken. For God’s sake do not apply Choona, Haldi etc

  • Wash the bite area for 10 minutes with soap and water to remove all saliva, as only saliva transmits the virus.
  • Cover the wound with a clean bandage, to stop bleeding.
  • Call your doctor for advice.
  • If the animal is claimed to be a pet animal, insist on seeing the animal’s vaccination certificate or talk to the owner’s vet. If the animal was immunized and the validity of the vaccine is over, your child will have to be given full course of preventive vaccine.
  • Don’t panic. The incubation period (period from entry of virus to appearance of symptoms) allows enough time for prevention.

Social Responsibility

  • Vaccinate your dog or cat against rabies.
  • Report stray animals in the neighborhood, and teach children to avoid them.
  • Have a rabies immunization, if your work involves animals.
  • Keep tetanus immunizations up-to-date.

Steps to be taken in event of a bite:

  • Universal precautions as listed above.
  • Observation of the animal’s behavior. Determine if the animal was provoked. Unprovoked bites are more likely to be infective.
  • All bites have to be treated by administration of Anti-rabies vaccine. Different types of vaccines have different schedule.
  • In a case where bite is not confirmed, i.e. child can not tell whether it is a nail scratch or a bite, still worthwhile to give the minimum recommended vaccine.

Possible Complications

  • Dehydration and shock.
  • Coma.
  • Paralysis and death.

Probable Outcomes

Rabies can be prevented with early treatment following animal bites. Once symptoms begin, survival is unlikely.



Your doctor may prescribe one of the following:

  • Injections of rabies-immune globulin (in case of bites from proven/known rabid animals, monkey, horse).
  • Injections of PCEV/ HDCV vaccine, if the animal is proven rabid.
  • Tetanus booster.
  • Painful injections in the abdomen are NO LONGER necessary.



No special diet during outpatient treatment before symptoms begin. Intravenous fluids and nutrients are necessary during hospitalization.

REMEMBER symptoms may appear 3 to 7 weeks after the bite or as long as 1 to 10 years later.

Contact your Doctor

Your child is bitten by an animal and shows the following

  • Restlessness and irritability.
  • Fatigue.
  • Slight fever.
  • Cough.
  • Sore throat.
  • Increased saliva and tears.

2 to 10 days later:

  • Violent spasms of throat muscles that make swallowing impossible.
  • Hyperactivity and violent behavior.
  • Confusion.
  • High fever.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Irregular breathing.