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Got a nail scratch from a non vaccinated dog. What to do?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1986
Answered : 2094 Questions
i had a small dog nail scratch on my hand two months before and it has died after one month . but before dying it has bit small puppy, after biting, one and half month later.that puppy is acting like mad and trying to bite everyone.both dogs were not vaccinated against i want to know whether i should take rabbis vaccination or what are the actions i should take?. its almost two months for today after the nail scrach.
Thu, 3 Jan 2013 in Infections
Answered by Dr. Akhilesh Dubey 1 hour later

Thanks for sharing your concern.

I went through the details submitted. You reported that you had a nail scratch by dog 2 month back and dog died due to unknown cause and the small puppy is behaving madly. I can understand your apprehension. In such cases, ideally the puppy should be humanly killed and brain is tested for Negri bodies, if positive it confirms rabies.

As rabies has no cure, we suggest vaccination for any suspicious exposure. Usually it is bite and exposure to saliva which transmits virus. The chances of transmission are very, very rare through scratch wounds. However in your case, I would suggest you to take post exposure vaccination at the earliest - active vaccination with HDCV on day 0.3,7,14 and 28.

Passive immunization with human rabies immune globulin (HRIG) is unlikely to be useful now.

Hope this information helps you and if you have any further query I will be available to answer that.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Got a nail scratch from a non vaccinated dog. What to do? 1 hour later
where to test the negri bodies of dogs brain. puppy is drinking little little water , and reduced food taking. but not showing any fear while showing water.
Answered by Dr. Akhilesh Dubey 26 minutes later
Hi and thanks again,

You may report to the nearest veterinary centre about your suspicious of animal rabies. They should be able to take the further steps to diagnose/confirm the possibility.

However if you were to be my patient, I would suggest the other simplest alternative i.e. taking post exposure prophylaxis with active vaccination. As mentioned in my earlier reply HDCV vaccine on day 0, 3,7,14, and 28 taken intramuscularly should lower the chances of you getting rabies.

I hope this answer clarifies your doubts and allays all your fears. Let me know if you have any other concerns.
If there are no follow-ups, please close this discussion.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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