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Atlanta Injury Lawyer > Blog > Dog Bites > Do You Need a Rabies Vaccine After a Dog Bite?

Do You Need a Rabies Vaccine After a Dog Bite?


Rabies is not like it looks in the movies.  You have probably seen terrifying images of aggressive dogs foaming at the mouth and transmitting rabies through their bites, leading to similar symptoms in humans.  That is what rabies looks like when it is already too late.  Today, most domestic dogs have been vaccinated against rabies.  Georgia law requires pet owners to vaccinate their dogs and cats against rabies.  Thus, in Georgia, and in other states, more than 95 percent of rabies cases are transmitted by bats, not dogs.  Despite this, it is still possible to get rabies from a dog bite in the United States.  If you get bitten by a dog of unknown vaccination status, getting a rabies shot promptly will almost certainly save your life.  The rabies shot and the other medical bills may add up to hundreds of dollars or more, though, so you have the right to file a claim against the dog owner or the owner of the property where the dog attack took place.  After the first dose of your rabies vaccine, one of the first people you should contact is an Atlanta dog bite lawyer.

Rabies Goes From Asymptomatic to Deadly Very Quickly

Rabies is a viral illness, caused by several viruses in the lyssavirus family.  Antibiotics do not work against viral illnesses, and there are currently no antiviral medications that are effective against rabies.  The virus is present in the saliva of infected animals and can be transmitted by bites or scratches that break the skin.

Humans infected with rabies usually begin to show symptoms three months after exposure.  By the time symptoms appear, the disease is almost always fatal; only 14 people in history are known to have survived rabies, but 59,000 people around the world die from it each year.  Symptoms include fever, anxiety, excessive salivation, and inability to swallow, hence the characteristic “frothing at the mouth” as a sign of rabies.  The good news is that, after a rabies exposure, there is time to get vaccinated, and rabies vaccines provide nearly perfect protection.

Rabies Vaccines Give You 100 Percent Protection If You Take Them in Time

Because rabies is rare in the United States, the rabies vaccine is not one of the routine childhood immunizations, like the vaccines that prevent common serious illnesses of childhood such as measles and chickenpox.  Instead, rabies vaccines take the form of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).  You should take the rabies vaccine immediately after the animal attack, if possible, but even if your first dose is several days after the attack, the vaccine is nearly 100 percent effective; rabies viruses replicate slowly.  The vaccine is a course of several injections, and they provide lifetime protection for humans, just as they do for dogs.

Contact Zagoria Law About Dog Bite Cases

An Atlanta personal injury lawyer can help you get compensation for your rabies vaccine and other dog-bite related medical bills.  Contact Zagoria Law in Atlanta, Georgia to discuss your case.



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