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Is Rabies vaccination required after being scratched by a dog 8 months ago?

Answered by
Dr.
Dr. Vivek Chail

Radiologist

Practicing since :2002

Answered : 6675 Questions

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Posted on Tue, 7 Jun 2016 in Infections
Question: Sir, 8-9 months back I was scratched on my leg by a stray dog. I didn't observe any blood or wound, redness on the skin was there or not I am not sure. That dog is still alive and doing well. Sir I didn't took any vaccine against rabies. Do I need to worry now after 8-9 months. Should I take anti rabies vaccine now. I took anti rabies vaccine in the year 2012 when I was bitten by our pet dog. Can it be still effective or I am in danger of getting rabies. If I take rabies vaccine now, will it be affective and Sir in how much time rabies vaccine start working. If I am infected with rabies then now after 8-9 months will the vaccine work, if I take vaccine now.


Sir, do every dog bite result into rabies,sir, I want your clarification that if every dog bite don't cause rabies then why people take vaccines, is it for precaution that it is not possible for everybody to quarantine the dog for 10 days and if dog is found well beyond the quarantine, then vaccines should be taken or not. The dog about which I mentioned in my question is known to me. I used to feed her. After that scratch which was without bleeding and wound and no pain, she is still fine and we'll. Sir, I want your clarification. Thank you.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Rabies vaccine will start working 30 days after starting course

Detailed Answer:
Hi,
Thanks for writing in to us.

I have read through your query in detail.
Please find my observations below.

1. If there was no bleeding wound then it is a low risk dog bite injury. The dog is alive and doing well after 8 to 9 months. Therefore you gettiing rabies is unlikely.

2. You have taken vaccine in 2012 and that should have generated anti rabies antibodies to give you protection. It is said that vaccines can provide adequate antibodies for 2 to 5 years. It means that you have some protection from rabies from vaccine taken in the year 2012 after pet dog bit you.

3. Every dog bite will not cause rabies. The 10 day quarantine period is to watch if the dog is mad with probability of rabies infection. Most mad dogs show violent change in behaviour within ten days of biting and this is why they tell to observe any dog which has cause dog bite.

4. Rabies vaccine will start working 30 days after starting course. Taking rabies vaccine after dog bite is for precaution because many times people have dog bite from unknown dogs. It is good to take vaccine even after dog bite from pet dog for precaution like you did in 2012.

5. One should not wait for 10 days to get over and then start rabies vaccine. It is recommended that you take vaccine starting from day of dog bite. Observation of dog for 10 days is to know if the dog is having disease. Most dogs will show behaviour change within 10 days but some times dog can stay well even after 10 days.

In conclusion, you do not have risk of rabies from that scratch because the injury was low risk, the dog is doing well and you have some antibodies from 2012 vaccination. If you want to play with stray dogs regularly then you can discuss rabies pre exposure prophylaxis with your doctor which is a 3 dose vaccine schedule. This will decrease risk of rabies and if there is any dog bite after taking this then you need to take 2 booster vaccines for protection.

Hope your query is answered.
Please do write back if you have any doubts.

Regards,
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Vivek Chail 49 minutes later
Sir, I need your clarification on rabies virus. As I have started vaccination yesterday after 8-9 months of the exposure, whether the vaccine will work because I heard that once rabies virus gets into central nervous system, vaccines will not work. How much time virus takes to enter central nervous system. Does it coincide with 8-9 months time of mine. Sir, I need your assurance that whether now or in future I will get infected with rabies. The female dog from which I got scratch while playing with her on my leg is fine still after 8-9 months.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail 3 hours later
Brief Answer:
You will never get rabies in future from this event

Detailed Answer:
Hi,
Thanks for writing back with an update.

1. The vaccine will work if you take complete dose schedule recommended. You already have some antibodies because of vaccination in 2012. Since it is 4 years therefore the concentration of antibodies was low and if you take vaccination again then the antibodies will increase.

2. In most people the rabies virus will enter the central nervous system from 1 to 3 months. However you should not worry because 8 to 9 months are over and you took vaccine 4 years back.

3. The vaccine you took 4 years back would have given some protection and now with vaccination you will get total protection. Therefore you should not think about getting rabies.

Hope your query is answered.
Please do write back if you have any doubts.

Regards,
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Vivek Chail 28 minutes later
Sir, in some medical websites I read that if you have observed the dog from which exposure is suspected for 10-15 days and dog is found doing well, then there is no requirement of vaccination. Is this is true or false. In my case, after that scratch, that female dog didn't only did well but also gave birth to puppies. she is doing well and Sir what is my chance of getting rabies in my future life as I am undergoing vaccination after 8-9 months of exposure .Sir please also go through the information which I have mentioned in additional details. It might sound I am asking same question because I am really worried and mentally disturbed because this virus is highly unpredictable. I hope you can understand my problem. For a patient his doctor is more than God. Thank you sir.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail 56 minutes later
Brief Answer:
You will never get rabies from this incident

Detailed Answer:
Hi,
Thanks for writing back with an update.

1. There is no reason for anxiety and getting disturbed.

2. The "if the dog is doing well for 10 days then no requirement of vaccination" rule applies to well kept pet dogs which are vaccinated. This will not hold good for dogs which are not pets.

3. Your dog is doing well and you have started vaccination. Therefore you will never get rabies from this incident.

Hope your query is answered.
Please do write back if you have any doubts.

Regards,
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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