Q. I was bit by a dog whose rabies shot status is unknown. Do I need to get a rabies vaccine?

Answered by
Dr. Muhammad Zubayer Alam
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 27, 2020

Hello doctor,

I work at a veterinary clinic. 18 days ago, a great dane bit my leg, causing some deep puncture wounds. We immediately flushed the wound even though I discovered that night that there was a wound on my leg's back, we did not notice. I went immediately to the local health department to get a tetanus shot. We had never seen this dog before, and when we asked the owner about the rabies shot. She said that the dog had one but could not prove it. This owner is a bit sketchy, and we have reported here several times before this incident. She was instructed to quarantine the dog for ten days.

That night, I felt uneasy, so I went to the local urgent care. They had me fill out a bite form (something the health department did not even mention). And the doctor there gave me an antibiotic for ten days to prevent infection. I was not at work on the day of the dog's ten-day recheck, but one of the veterinarians said the dog was fine. I trust him, but I know that rabies are not something to be taken lightly, and it does not help that I can be a paranoid person at times. Last night, I started noticing some tingling in my leg (the bite is about mid-calf). Now, I cannot tell you whether I felt the tingling before or after reading that was one of the first signs of rabies. Like I said, I can go a bit nutty at times. I have also had tingling sensations in my hands and feet in the past and had visited a neurologist due to my family's MS history. I would just like some reassuring. Or should I get the rabies vaccine?



Welcome to

I can understand your concern. According to your statement, you were bitten by a dog 18 days back. If bitten, a previously vaccinated person should take two more doses of rabies vaccine. One dose immediately and one three days later.

Again, if bitten, a nonvaccinated person should receive four to five doses of rabies vaccine on the 0, 3, 7, 14, and 28 days of a bite.

In your case, 17-18 days have been passed from that dog bite incident. There is no time limit regarding the administration of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) after an exposure. In this case, it is still appropriate to initiate PEP. Administration of both human rabies immunoglobulin (HRIG) and four doses of rabies vaccine is recommended regardless of the time elapsed since the exposure.

Rabies has no treatment if once it develops. So it is wise to take the rabies vaccine after bitten by rabid animals like a dog. The first symptoms of rabies may appear from a few days to more than a year after the bite. Tingling, prickling, or itching around the bite area may develop initially with flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea, tiredness, loss of appetite, or muscle aches.

I hope this helps.

Was this answer helpful?


Same symptoms doesn’t mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Related Questions:
Is it necessary to get rabies vaccine after dog scratch?

There is no need of anti-rabies vaccine ... Do I need rabies vaccine ...   Read full

Will rabies virus survive outside host if exposed to sunlight?

Hello doctor, Can rabies virus survive outside host on grass or leaves if it is exposed to sunlight ...   Read full

Vaccinated dog bite my daughter. Is anti-rabies vaccine needed?

Hello doctor, I had a miscarriage at 12 weeks. It has been two months now. Can I plan for the next baby and conceive now?   Read full

Also Read Answers From:

ideaComprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Also Read

Monkeypox Virus - Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Complications, and Prevention
Monkeypox is a zoonotic viral disease. This virus got its name as it was first noticed in laboratory monkeys in the late...  Read more»
Tomato Fever - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention
Tomato fever is an unidentified and fast-spreading type of viral infection seen in young children. Scroll down to know m...  Read more»
Histrionic Personality Disorder - Causes, Signs, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
Histrionic personality disorder causes variations in the thinking ability of a person. Read this article to know more.  Read more»

Ask your health query to a doctor online?

Ask an Internal Medicine Physician Now

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.