What happens if I'm bitten by a rabid dog?

Note: This is not “need answer fast” - I’ve never even seen a rabid dog, and I’d probably insist on visiting the ER if I were even within a few feet of one, let alone bitten. I’m just curious.

So, say I’m walking along the mean streets of Arlington, and a rabid dog bites me. Ouch! Questions:

1.) How long do I have to seek treatment? Does it matter where I’ve been bitten?

2.) How does modern rabies treatment work? Is it just a regular shot, or is it something nightmarishly painful?

3.) How effective is the vaccine? Assuming I get it promptly (whatever that means), would I certainly be okay, or just have a reasonably good shot at being okay?

4.) How would the disease progress without treatment? Does it produce aggression in humans?

This linkhas the answers to most of your questions.

Though a more trusted source would be this one.

Rabies is regarded as lethal though in the history of the world there have been a handful of people who have not been treated and lived.

If you get bitten by a dog with rabies, it’s not 100% for sure you have rabies, but it would be regarded as you likely to get rabies.

It would depend on things like where the bite occured, how long the dog had his jaws into you. Basically all those factors add up to “how much of the virus got passed into you.”

If you take HIV as an example, some people have had a single pinprick (if they work in a lab and make an error for example) and become HIV+, but stats show most people do not become HIV+ from a single pinprick.

So it depends on how much of the virus is passed, and if you’re body can fight it before any of it takes hold.

Treatment for rabies would procede as if you were infected, because it’s regarded as lethal. Treatmen begun within 7 days is considered to be “highly successful”

The modern shots are said to be no more painful than any other type of vaccination

Handful? Try one.

Source - New York Times - November 2004

Not a dog (a raccoon) - but well worth a listen. I don’t know what’s more terrifying - being attacked by a rabid animal. or ignored by an incompetent medical system.
Act one: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=319

that was the first. i recall there was at least a second case that followed that treatment method.

At least in years past the disease was regarded so dangerous that merely being in the same house with a rabid dog would require treatment.

Back in 1948 my family had a Mother’s Day gathering, with thirteen people and one dog that turned out a day later to have rabies. This was in Alton, Illinois, and the State of Illinois provided free rabies vaccine for the treatment, but we had to pay a local Dr. for giving them.

Three of us had come in contact with the animal thru petting, etc., and this group were given the full course of 21 daily shots. The rest of us, who had not touched the animal but had been in the same house with it, were given a fourteen day course of shots. I was eighteen at the time, and remember well getting off from high school each day to go down to Doc. Robertson’s for my shot (luckily I was in the 14 day group).

To put things in context, there were a total of 203 shots given. The Doctor’s bill was $256.00. What would that have been now?

One thing that has always puzzled me. Every time over the years that I have read anything about these shots is that they were very painful, being given in the stomach with a long needle. However, the ones were got were all in the upper arm, one arm one day and the other the next, and were less painful than a flu shot. I’ve always wondered where all the horror stories came from.

True. But there have been a handful or so that did survive rabies once the symptoms started. I believe, though, that all of them had started receiving treatment before the symptoms showed up, but still late in the incubation period.

Oddly, there’s not a lot of info on them. I kinda wonder just what kind of (if any) long term effects they might have had. I know the girl in the linked article had to go thru a lot of therapy before her brain started working properly again.

The Wiki pageon rabies mentions a boy in Cali.

Simple; they improved the treatment into something less agonizing.

about ten years ago, I had to get the rabies vaccination. I was bitten by a cat of a homeless person at a soup kitchen. I went back to see if i could find the girl and cat but to no avail. I went to the doctor’s and he recommended I get the rabies vaccination as a precaution. He had to order it from Toronto Health. The first day I saw my doctor it was just a tetanus vaccination. I went the next day and had the rabies vaccination in the other arm, plus 2 steroid shots in each butt cheek. I had to go for 2 more subsequent shots 1 month after the first rabies shot and 3months after my 2nd shot. The vaccinations weren’t the things that hurt. The 2 steroid shots were the killers. I couldn’t lay on my back because my butt hurt so much. I couldn’t sit either. The ass pain was for about 3-5days, but only the most intense for 1-2days. I felt the juice from the steroid needles being injected in my butt whereas i didn’t really feel the juice from the tetanus and rabies vaccination. And boy were the steroid needles kinda big. I only had a quick glimpse of it, and just looked away when they were going in. All i know is they weren’t the arm needle variety, that’s for sure.

Yes, but my experience was in 1948, 61 years ago. And everytime since that I’ve heard about rabies shots the information was included about how horrible they were.

I’m thinking that this agony thing was sort of an urban legend dating from the days of Louis Pasteur.

People always talk about how bad a root canal is but to me they are about the same as a filling. In some cases the root canal is what gets rid of the pain , it does not cause pain. I guess in the distant past root canals were a lot worse.

The old school shots had to be given in the abdominal cavity because of the large volume of fluid injected.

I suspect the treatment given to Daylate was improved upon by these abdominal shots, and then probably improved upon again by the newer in-arm protocol. My WAG is the addition of immunoglobulin was probably the most recent improvement and helped get away from abdominal injections.

My husband had the abdominal injections some time in, IIRC, the 1990s for a rabid dog’s attack.

Chiming in to urge anyone to get treatment AT ONCE if bitten by a dog that cannot be ascertained to be rabies-free. Once symptoms appear, nothing can be done for you.

It’s endemic in Thailand, and I was bitten by an extremely mangy-looking street dog a few years ago when I unwittingly wandered too near her puppies. I had foolishly not kept up with my vaccination, so I had to undergo the full lengthy course. (No abdominal shots, though, and they were just like any other shots; this was about 2003.) If I had kept up with my vaccination, I would only have had to receive a single booster shot.

I’ve heard some very heartbreaking stories from relatives of rabies victims over the year. One young man had been riding his motorcycle down a street wearing flipflops (sandals) and simply kicked a dog out of the way that had come running up to chase him. It was determined he had contracted rabies from that incident! The dog’s saliva had somehow gotten into his system. The man died, of course. All they can do for you once symptoms appear is try to make you as comfortable as possible until the end – and no touching your relatives!