Rabies and Tetanus

Everything you need to know about rabies and the vaccination to protect yourself.

The simple fact is Rabies and Tetanus have no cure, have 100% human fatality after symptoms appear, and both lead to excruciatingly painful deaths. The two can only be prevented.

Rabies is transferred from the saliva of the infected dog. Any bites that draw blood need to addressed immediately. The vaccine is a painless shot given to your arm.

Tetanus develops through wound contamination and often involves a cut or puncture wound. It takes only one shot within 24 hours of a wound, and the immunity stays for 6 months. So please don’t miss your shot.

Prevention

Remember the old wives tale– ‘The dog bit me but we’re going to watch it for 10 days and if it dies I’ll get my vaccinations!’ It doesn’t work. You need to get your first vaccination on the first day (within 24 hours) of exposure – called day zero.

If the dog did not die- he could still be carrying rabies- the dog will show symptoms if it was in terminal stage and is known as a ‘rabid’ dog.

Vaccination table

Follow this vaccination protocol or talk to your doctor immediately:

 What you’ll needWhat the dog needs
You’ve never had anti-rabies shotsYou had a full course of 5 shots after exposure previouslyYou’ve had 3 preventive shots  
You’ve (a) pet dog(s) that have had anti-rabies every year without fail, and have/ has never bitten youRECOMMENDED you take a full ‘pre-exposure’ anti-rabies vaccination courseNANAYearly booster anti-rabies shots, without fail
You have a pet dog that has missed or not had anti-rabies shots, but has never bitten youRECOMMENDED you take a full ‘pre-exposure’ vaccination courseNANAGet it vaccinated IMMEDIATELY and get him/her yearly booster shots, without fail
You rescue stray dogs but none have bitten youTake a full ‘pre-exposure’ vaccination course IMMEDIATELYNANAIf you can, keep the dogs vaccinated
You rescue stray dogs, and one has bitten youTake a full ‘post-exposure’ vaccination course IMMEDIATELYTake 1 booster doseTake a full ‘pre-exposure’ vaccination course IMMEDIATELYIf you can, keep the dogs vaccinated
An unknown dog has bitten youTake a full ‘post-exposure‘ vaccination course IMMEDIATELYTake 1 booster doseTake a full ‘pre-exposure’ course IMMEDIATELYIf you can, keep the dogs vaccinated
An unknown dog has bitten you very severely*Take an IMMUNOGLOBIN course IMMEDIATELY, followed by a post-exposure rabies vaccination courseTake an IMMUNOGLOBIN course IMMEDIATELY, followed by a post-exposure rabies vaccination courseTake an IMMUNOGLOBIN course IMMEDIATELY, followed by a post-exposure rabies vaccination courseKeep the dog under observation if possible
A dog showing symptoms of rabies has bitten youTake an IMMUNOGLOBIN course IMMEDIATELY, followed by a post-exposure rabies vaccination courseNANAKeep the dog under observation if possible

*A deep bite or repeated attack by a dog that has caused severe tissue damage. In such a situation, immunoglobin needs to be administered at the site of the bite immediately (Day 0) and repeated on Day 3.

Pre-exposure anti-rabies vaccination (3 doses)

First shot to be taken within 24 hours of exposure (Day 0)

Second shot to be taken on  Day 3

Third shot to be taken on Day 7

Post-exposure anti-rabies vaccination (5 doses)

First shot to be taken within 24 hours of exposure (Day 0)

Second shot to be taken on  Day 3

Third shot to be taken on Day 7

Fourth shot to be taken on Day 14

Fifth shot to be taken on Day 21 or 28

Administering Immunoglobin

Immunoglobin needs to be administered at the site of the bite immediately (Day 0) and repeated on Day 3 in case of a deep bite or repeated attack by a dog that has caused severe tissue damage or if the dog was showing symptoms.

Do you find this information useful? For more medical, general, and legal advice on dogs, visit VOSD.

The information contained in VOSD Vet Advice™ is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical action which is provided by your vet. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information. For any emergency situation related to a dog’s health, please visit the nearest veterinary clinic.