Dog Bites: All You Need To Know About Rabies

Dog Bites: All You Need To Know About Rabies

Have you ever been beaten by a dog or has any member of your family or friends go through the painful incident with a mad dog? One of the diseases that can be contracted after a dog bite is rabies. And people are always asking, “Can rabies kill a human?”

What is rabies?

Rabies is a deadly disease transmitted from animals to humans, and it is caused by a virus. There are two clinical indicators of rabies – frantic and paralytic. Frantic rabies is the most common form of human rabies.

Early symptoms of rabies can include fever and tingling at the site of exposure. These symptoms are followed by one or more of the following symptoms: uncontrolled excitement, confusion, violent movements, fear of water, an inability to move parts of the body, and loss of consciousness.

Once symptoms appear, the outcome is closely always death.

The time period between contracting the disease and the start of symptoms is usually one to three months, however, this time period can differ from less than one week to more than one year.

The time is also dependent on the distance the virus must travel to reach the central nervous system.

Rabies is caused by lyssavirus, including rabies virus and Australian bat lyssavirus. The spread of the deadly disease is aided when an infected animal scratches or bites another animal or human.

Saliva from an infected animal can also transmit rabies if the saliva comes into contact with the eyes, mouth, or nose.

What should be avoided with an animal bite wound?

1. Make sure you avoid applying irritants to the wound such as chilli powder, plant juices, acids or alkalis.

2.  Never cover the wound with dressings or bandages.

What is the first sign of rabies in humans? How does rabies develop in humans?

After the disease enters the human body, the rabies virus moves from the innermost layer of tissue below the human skin (called subcutaneous tissue), or from the muscle into the peripheral nerves (i.e. the nerves in the body which are outside the brain or spinal cord).
The virus travels along nerves to the spinal cord and brain at an estimated speed of 12–24 mm per day.

The infected person demonstrates behavioural changes and clinical signs when the virus reaches the brain. The development period of the virus ranges from a few days to several months and can be as long as one year.

 Which animals bite causes rabies?

According to a research, globally, dogs are the most common animal involved in rabies cases. More than 99% of rabies cases in countries where dogs commonly have the disease are caused by dog bites.

Though in the Americas, bat bites are the most common source of rabies infections in humans, and less than 5% of cases are from dogs. Rodents are very rarely infected the virus.

The virus migrates to the brain by following the peripheral nerves. Another distinct fact about the disease is that it can only be diagnosed after the start of symptoms.

Successful animal control and vaccination programs have decreased the risk of the virus from dogs in a number of regions of the world. Immunizations are recommended for people who are at high risk of exposure to the disease.

The high-risk group of people includes those who work with bats or who spend long periods in areas of the world where rabies is common.

Treatment and Prevention of Transmission of Rabies

In people who have been exposed to rabies, the rabies vaccine and rabies immunoglobulin are effective in preventing the disease if the person receives the treatment early before the start of rabies symptoms.

To effectively prevent transmission, washing of bites and scratches for 15 minutes with soap and clean water, povidone iodine, or detergent may reduce the number of viral particles and may be the best action.

What is the best treatment for rabies in humans?

Only five people are known to have survived a rabies infection after showing the symptoms, and this treatment was known as the Milwaukee protocol, which is an extensive treatment program.


If you keep pets, especially dogs, make sure you vet them very well. Regularly schedule visits with your local veterinary and have your dogs checked. Also, never leave the young children in your home alone with your dogs.