What You Need To Know About Rabies And Dog Bites

Rabies is commonly used in jokes and in horror stories by doctors. But how many people actually get rabies in the modern world?

You might be surprised at how common rabies remains in the United States. If you’ve been bitten by a dog, you need to make sure to take all of the proper precautions to ensure that you are not infected with rabies.  Timely treatment is always required if you have not vaccinated previously or else the results can be devastating.  If the dog has a tag, make sure you contact the owner or the county office where the dog is registered to see if the dog itself has been vaccinated.  Under Michigan dog leash and licensing laws, it must be up to date on rabies vaccinations to be considered legal.  In this article, we’ll discuss rabies and dog bites, and what you can do to keep yourself protected.

What Is Rabies?

Rabies is a type of virus that is carried by certain animals, including dogs. Humans are susceptible to infection with the rabies virus if they are bitten by an animal that is carrying the virus.  This infection is quite rare, as most people are vaccinated against the virus. However, some people do not have the proper vaccinations, putting them at risk for infection. And the infection is almost always lethal if it is not treated right after the dog bite.  In dogs, rabies can be found in the dog’s saliva. Once you are bitten, the rabies can enter the wound through the saliva and work its way into your body. If you have been vaccinated against rabies, your body will be able to fight off infection.

Symptoms Of Rabies

You may have heard of “rabid” dogs. These animals are often described as crazed, with wild eyes and foam coming out of the corners of their mouth. But if you have been bitten by a dog with rabies, you should also know about symptoms in humans.  Rabies at first presents much like a standard flu. You may have a fever, weakness, muscle aching and soreness, and a headache. The symptoms will usually stay like this for a few days. You may also feel some irritation or itchiness around the area of the dog bite.

However, rabies cases take a turn for the worse quickly. After a few days, you may begin to experience an even higher fever, confusion, convulsions, and aggressiveness.  Rabies is almost always fatal if it progresses to the stage of clinical symptoms. That’s why it’s crucial that you get treatment as soon as possible if you are afraid that you may have been exposed to rabies.

How Can Rabies Be Treated?

The main defense against rabies is vaccination. The rabies vaccine is an extremely effective way of fighting the virus, if you have been given the vaccine before you are bitten. Most people are given the vaccine, but you should check your immunization records to ensure that all of your vaccinations are up to date.

The vaccine is still effective if it is administered after the bite. However, it needs to be soon after and they can be very painful as they are usually administered in the stomach.  If you are given the vaccine after symptoms have appeared, it is too late, and the vaccine will do nothing.  When it comes to actually treating an active rabies vaccine, there are very few options. Rabies cases are almost always fatal once clinical symptoms appear.

There are a number of aggressive treatments that are used to try to save people with severe infections. Unfortunately, these treatments are rarely effective. In most cases, all doctors can do is keep the patient comfortable, and hope that the infection passes.

Make Sure You’re Vaccinated

If you are around dogs, you should make sure that you have up to date vaccinations. This will keep you protected, and you won’t have to worry about rabies if you are bitten by a dog.

And always make sure that your kids have proper vaccinations. Kids are one of the most common dog bite victims, and some of them may not always mention the bite. If your child is bitten by a rabid dog and does not have the vaccination, they could quickly develop a life threatening illness.

Report Any Rabid Dogs

If you see a dog and believe that it may have rabies, it’s important that you report the dog to animal control as soon as possible. Rabies can spread between dogs, and one animal can quickly infect many more.

Even if you have the rabies vaccine, others around you may not, putting their health at risk. And rabid dogs tend to be more aggressive, making them more likely to bite and injure people.  If you have dogs of your own at home, you should try to keep them away from wild animals that could transmit rabies to them. Skunks, foxes, and racoons can all carry rabies, and often get in fights with dogs.

Contact A Michigan Dog Bite Attorney

If you have been bitten by a rabid dog, you should contact a skilled Michigan dog bite attorney after you seek medical attention. Even if you have the rabies vaccine, you may be able to seek additional damages from the dog’s owner because of their neglect.  At the Clark Law Office, we have years of experience working on every angle of dog bite cases in Michigan. And we only get paid if you win the case.  Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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