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What are the chances of getting rabies after scratching by a dog?

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My friend owns a pomeranian dog which was vaccinated for rabies 2 and a half year ago(in our country, pet owners are not required by law to get pets vaccinated regularly).
I (30 years old) visited my friend at his home seven days back (on 23.06.12). The dog was chained since I was an stranger for the dog (I went first time to my friend's home)and I fear dogs. Somehow, the dog broke loose and ran towards me. He didn't attack me at all but started playing with me near my legs. At the time, I was in shorts and wore nothing below knees. In the process, I got a scratch (below knee) which I don't know was from his nails or teeth. The scrath was mild and didn't bleed. I washed the scratch immediately with soap and water for 1-2 minutes. Later I came to know that I should have washed for 10-15 minutes and should have applied alcohol/iodine after washing which I didn't do. This dog sometimes comes in contact with other dogs and cows. The dog is pet and available for observation for 10 days.

My questions are

1. Should I go for rabies PEP and if not should I consult a physician.
2. Can I wait for 10 days to observe if dog starts showing any rabies symptoms.
3. Is there any chance that a rabid dog starts shedding rabies virus and doesn't die/shows symptoms even after 10 days.
4. If the dog was rabid, how many days I have left with to go for PEP successfully considering location of scratch and considering that it was a scratch not a bite.

Thanking you in anticipation.

Posted Fri, 20 Jul 2012 in Infections
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 4 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.
Since you had only a minor scratch on your leg and the dog was vaccinated two and half years ago, there is nothing to worry.
About the PEP,if the attack was unprovoked,and the dog is available for observation,then anti rabies shots may not be needed. Any signs of infection,like pus,discolouration etc from the site,seek medical help immediate.
Some doctors give antibiotics to prevent infection,so that can be done only after examination of the wound.

You can observe the dog for ten days and then decide.
It is not likely that a rabied dog will not show any symptoms in ten days.
The scratch you had was a mild one. There is no need to worry. You can safely wait for ten days. In case of doubt, PEP is started as soon as possible after the bite.

Hope this answers your query. I will be glad to answer the follow up queries that you have.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Rakhi Tayal.
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