How Can You Tell a Dog Has Rabies?

Black dog showing its fangs

Rabies is an extremely dangerous virus that is most often spread to humans by the bite of an animal that has already been infected by it. Because most people do not spend much time in the wild, rabies cases among humans are usually linked to dog bites. For this reason, it is crucial that you understand the warning signs of rabies in case you are ever bitten by a dog, especially one that you do not know.

Typical warning signs of rabies in dogs include:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Seizures or paralysis
  • Staggered or uneasy walking
  • Trouble with eating or chewing
  • Fever
  • Uncharacteristic aggression

Please keep in mind that dogs can have rabies without showing symptoms. The virus can take anywhere from 3 to 12 weeks to reach the brain, where it will begin to manifest the telltale signs. While the virus is spreading within the dog’s body, though, a bite from the animal can transmit it.

What Happens If a Rabid Dog Bites You?

When rabies is transmitted from a dog to a human, the virus tends to develop much faster. The bite victim could become symptomatic within 48 to 72 hours. When the symptoms begin to appear, the virus has already developed enough to be dangerous, and the patient must seek immediate medical attention.

A post-exposure rabies prophylaxis (PEP) should be administered as soon as possible after you are bitten by a dog and the bite wound breaks the skin. The shot can neutralize the virus before it has a chance to worsen and cause symptoms. The shot should be administered within 24 hours of being bitten to increase its effectiveness. The treating physician may prescribe additional shots over the next few days.

If symptoms have already appeared, then hospitalization and more intensive care and monitoring may be required. The rabies virus is capable of causing death within a week in the vast majority of untreated cases. Do not wait to seek medical attention if you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog and has since begun to show rabies symptoms.

Rabid Dog Bite Lawsuits

After you have been treated for rabies, you should speak to an attorney about filing a dog bite claim. Your pain, suffering, and medical costs to treat your rabies can all be factored into the compensation the dog’s owner should provide you. A dog bite lawyer will know the correct approach to start, file, and pursue the claim.

If you live in New Hampshire and were bitten by a dog, rabid or not, you can come to Upton & Hatfield, LLP for prompt and effective legal services. Contact us today for more information.

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