Getting bitten or attacked by a dog can be an extremely frightening experience in the moment – but it can also be scary after the fact, as you wonder whether you could have contracted an infection or a disease from the dog’s saliva. While most bacterial infections can be fought quickly and effectively with antibiotics, rabies, a rare viral infection, can only be treated successfully immediately after infection. If it is not treated quickly, the mortality rate is 100 percent. For this reason, it is vitally important that you know as much as possible about your rabies risk after you have been bitten by a dog.
What Is Rabies?
Rabies is a virus that causes fatal inflammation of the brain over a period of one to three months. While an animal such as a dog is infected with rabies, it may display a large range of abnormal behavior, including:
- Eating non-food items.
- Aggressive behavior and biting.
- Erratic running.
- A change in the dog’s bark or growling.
- Foaming at the mouth.
Because rabies is well-controlled in the United States, cases are now rare – only a few cases and deaths occur each year. However, because it is so fatal, and because chance of survival goes up considerably if you are treated quickly, being aware of rabies is extremely important.
Dog Bites and Rabies Safety
Whenever you are attacked and bitten by a dog, you should consider the possibility of rabies. After your injury, it is vital to ask the following questions:
- Was the skin broken during the attack?
- Was a mucus membrane exposed to the dog’s saliva during the attack?
- Is the dog displaying any signs or symptoms of rabies?
- Did the dog’s brain test positive for rabies (if killed)?
- Does the dog have a confirmed history of rabies vaccinations?
- Is the dog being subjected to a 10-day quarantine?
- Did the dog escape the scene of the attack and is missing?
If you cannot determine that the dog absolutely does not have rabies through confirming the vaccine and/or quarantine, and if the dog potentially exposed you to the virus during the attack, you must follow through with post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), a vaccine that is almost 100 percent effective as long as it is given within a few days of exposure and before symptoms present themselves.
Contacting a Washington State Dog Bite Attorney
A dog attack can have a number of consequences for the victim that include psychological trauma and a bevy of medical bills. Specifically, receiving the post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) rabies vaccine can be both expensive and hard on your psyche.
If you have been bitten by a dog in Washington State, you may be owed for damages, which can include medical bills and pain and suffering. Talk to a Washington dog bite attorney today about your legal rights as a dog bite victim, and whether you should file a claim regarding your case. The legal team at our firm offers free, confidential consultations with attorney Chong Ye. To schedule yours, call or contact us online today.