Q. A pet dog bit me three years back. Can I take anti-rabies vaccine now?

Answered by
Dr. Ehsan Samarbafzadeh
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
Published on Jul 07, 2017

Hi doctor,

I am an 18 year old male. Three years ago, a dog slightly bit my hand. The dog died 1.5 years after he bit me. It has been three years now, but I am worried as I heard that rabies appears after years. I did not take any medicine then. I ignored it because it was a pet dog. If I take anti-rabies vaccine or boosters now, will it protect me? The dog was my neighbor's pet dog.

Dr. Ehsan Samarbafzadeh

Family Physician General Practitioner
#

Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

I understand your worry with this situation as rabies is considered dangerous.

  • The good news is that the dog that bit you probably did not have rabies as the progression of this disease is fast in dogs. If a rabid dog bites you, it will die in weeks. As you mentioned that the dog died after 1.5 years, I would not consider it rabid, and I think your health is at no risk due to that incident.
  • Keep in mind that if this ever happens again with a pet dog, the best action is for the dog to be monitored by a veterinarian for signs of rabies. If the dog that bites a person is a wild dog, it should be caught and taken to the vet to get tested, and if the wild dog is unavailable, this warrants taking prophylactic rabies vaccines.
  • The bottom line is, always consult your physician immediately after a dog bite.

I hope this answer helped you. Feel free to ask if you have any further questions. Best wishes.

For more information consult a family physician online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/family-physician


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