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Had a pet dog scratch on leg, did not wash the wound well. Dog vaccinated for rabies. Within how many days of scratch should I go for rabies pep?

HELLO SIR HOPE YOU WILL HELP ME IN THE FOLLOWING SITUATION. 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 four 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.
Asked On : Sun, 1 Jul 2012
Answers:  2 Views:  540
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Pediatrician 's  Response
Hello Neerajlucky24,
This is one of the grey areas in medicine, where no one can give 100% assurance. It is something like this: I am going to chennai from Bangalore. What are the chances I will have a fatal accident. We cannot give a yes or no answer. What I would answer is several thousands travel every day between these two metropolis. considering the volume and inexperience of our drivers, level of alcohol in their blood, the incidence of fatal accidents is negligible.
Our answer regarding rabies can be answered only in this fashion.
In short, my answer is your start taking the vaccine on day 0, 3, and 7. That means if you are taking the vaccine on monday, you can take another one on thursday and the third next monday. If on the 10 th day dog is fine, stop the vaccine. After all there is a regimen called pre-expposure prophylaxis. People who regularly work with animals take vaccine on day 0,7 and 21 even BEFORE the animal biting them. So we can assure that this vaccine is so safe.
The reason, is, the anxiety will kill us. Conflicting advice can confuse us. This is what I did to my mother 21 years ago.
Scratch and bite has no difference. Dogs have the habit of licking their nails.
Regarding the lack of blood, it is certainly reassuring, but that will not give peace of mind.
The answer is yes for your third question.
As far as your final question, don't place any time frame.
You can take the vaccine as early as possible.
In the last 27 years I have not heard any reaction to rabies prophylaxis.
with best wishes

Answered: Sun, 1 Jul 2012
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Pediatrician Dr. Vibin K V's  Response
welcome to Health Care Magic Forum
I understand your anxiety but your detail description shows clearly that you are NOT at risk for infection. Need not take any prophylaxis for this. Just take care of the wound by keeping it clean and healthy. If u really really worried, there is nothing wrong in taking PEP with rabies vaccine 3 doses and if by 10 days dog is fine, then avoid the rest 2 doses. Take care
Answered: Sun, 1 Jul 2012
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