Do Dogs With Rabies Die After Biting Someone? (Truth Revealed!)

does dog biting brings rabies

Rabies is a devastating, insidious illness that has taken the lives of many beloved pets and people. Although it is infrequent now due to vaccinations, it is essential to be educated about the virus. A lot of people believe that rabid dogs die because they have bitten humans. Is this nature punishing our canine friend? Or just a well-embellished myth?

Well, when dogs die of rabies, it has nothing to do with them biting someone. Rabid dogs usually have no chance of survival once the symptoms appear because the virus spreads to the brain causing paralysis and eventually, death. In other words, the fatality rate of rabies in dogs is alarmingly close to 100%.

The infected dog dies due to brain damage, making it more likely to be passed onto another host. Once the virus multiplies in the brain, you see the symptoms. A dog may become aggressive and try to bite you, but they do not die because they bite someone.

Rabies enters the bodies of humans and animals through their saliva and eventually travels to the brain. If you want to know more about whether dogs with rabies die after biting someone, read on for the answer.

Why Exactly Do Dogs With Rabies Die?

Dogs with rabies die from being infected with the virus, not because they bite someone. Biting is a symptom that presents itself through aggression. Once symptoms occur, the infected dog will die within about ten days or whenever the disease spreads to the brain.

A dog can get rabies if they are bitten or scratched by a carrier, like a fox, skunk, bat, coyote, or raccoon. The most common carrier of rabies in the United States is bats. The carrier could also be another dog or pet that has not been vaccinated.

After the bite occurs, rabies spreads to the host’s peripheral nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. Then rabies will reproduce and spread to the salivary glands. Then, the virus goes to the saliva. The virus does not live long out of the body of the host. If a dog dies from rabies, it is likely because they have not been vaccinated or received prompt care after another animal bites them.

If another animal bites a vaccinated dog, the dog would need a booster shot immediately, as it can prevent symptoms from occurring. When the clinical signs of rabies appear, death is imminent. The vaccination puts a stop to the progression of the illness. If the dog is not vaccinated and they do not receive their booster after being bitten, the dog will likely die.

What to Do When Bitten by a Rabid Dog

If a rabid dog bites you, quickly wash the wound with soap and water for five to ten minutes to help wash away the virus. You need to go to your doctor, who will perform diagnostic tests and provide necessary treatment to prevent infection. Early treatment is integral in the management of rabies and with onset of symptoms, the success rate of the treatment drops drastically.

A series of shots is administered to prevent the infection from running rampant through your body. Rabid dogs are normally quarantined to prevent them from biting anyone else or another pet.

If within ten days, there are no symptoms present in the animal, it means that they do not have rabies, and treatment is not necessary. You should alert the proper authorities when a rabid dog bites you. If a dog is found to be rabid, it must be humanely put down to prevent the spread of the virus to other people or pets.

Why Do Rabid Dogs Bite?

The rabies virus changes a dog’s behavior, and the animal may lose their fear, become aggressive, or bite a human or another dog or animal. Furious rabies is when the dog becomes aggressive. When the virus attacks the body, it spreads to cause infection in other cells. This virus changes the way the dog’s brain works.

Once the virus has reached the brain, it causes brain damage. Rabies changes the way that the animal responds to stimuli. It alters several areas of the brain that triggers aggression and affects nerve receptors in the brain that play a crucial role in animal controlling their behavior.

Also, unusual behavior such as anxiety or fear of water can affect the dog, causing them to become aggressive and attack. Aggression is one of the first symptoms of rabies in dogs. However, just because dogs are aggressive does not necessarily mean they have rabies. They may just be territorial.

Symptoms of Rabies in Dogs

There are some common symptoms of rabies in dogs, such as aggression and excessive saliva or drooling. Some other symptoms that often appear with rabies include anxiety, lack of energy, loss of appetite, disorientation, paralysis, seizures, and sudden death.

Symptoms of rabies often start with aggression and progress from there. During the first stage or the prodromal stage, the dog has a noticeable change in their behavior. It is a phase that can last from 2 to 3 days. The excitation stage is the next stage of rabies in dogs. During this stage, the dog becomes hyperactive, and this is often referred to as furious rabies.

When the dog has furious rabies, they become aggressive and highly excitable. The dog may also demonstrate a form of pica, such as chewing stones. Paralysis is the final stage of rabies. Paralysis occurs when the dog becomes unable to eat or drink. The dog eventually succumbs to the illness during an intense seizure.

There is also a lesser-known type of rabies called dumb rabies. In dumb rabies, the dog experiences progressive paralysis in the limbs, facial changes, or trouble swallowing. The dog ultimately becomes comatose and dies.

Can Dogs with Rabies Be Treated?

There is no approved treatment for rabies in dogs. However, there are boosters that a dog can get if they are bitten by an animal that is suspected of having rabies. After that, they will need to be quarantined and observed. Rabies is a fatal disease, but the good news is that mandatory vaccinations have made the disease less prevalent in the United States than it used to be.

Once symptoms of rabies occur, there is no treatment. Rabies is not a curable illness, but remember that prevention is the key to protecting your pet against the disease.

Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

You can do some things to protect your beloved pet from contracting rabies. You should first ensure your pet receives all their vaccinations and booster shots. Check your state’s rules to see how often your dog needs to get their shots. The rules are different in each state. However, there tend to be some general guidelines that most states follow.

Your dog should most likely be vaccinated for rabies when they are 12 weeks old. Make sure they get all their booster shots throughout their lives. The rule is that your dog usually gets their first booster shot at one year of age and every three years after that.

Always supervise your dog when they are outside, especially if you live near wildlife. In the event that your dog is bitten or scratched by wildlife or another animal, take them to the vet immediately to get a booster shot.

Keeping your dog up to date on their rabies shots will go a long way to help prevent them from acquiring the illness. Vaccinations have prevented many unnecessary deaths in pets and people.

Also Read: How Long Do Dogs With Rabies Live? (Backed By Science)

Protecting Yourself From Rabies

The first thing to do is protect your pets, which will help protect you and your family from contracting the virus. Contact the proper authorities for assistance if there is wildlife around your neighborhood and you suspect they may have rabies. Do not ever try to catch a wild animal. Be aware of the animals that are often carriers of rabies, such as foxes, raccoons, coyotes, skunks, and bats.

You, your family, and your pets must be kept far away from these animals. In the United States, bats are the most likely to carry rabies. Do not walk your dog at dawn or dusk when bats fly around. Keep these creatures from entering your home by keeping your windows shut or having screens to deter them.

Stay away from wildlife in your neighborhood. Wash animal bites carefully with soap and water. If you ever happen to be bitten by a wild animal, go to the doctor immediately. Prompt medical care can help prevent illness.

Be a leader. Help your neighborhood stay free of rabies by spreading the word. Help with prevention by urging your fellow pet parents to get all their animals vaccinated and kept safely indoors unless supervised. It will make your surrounding population much safer. Most importantly, have your pets vaccinated against the virus.

Final Thoughts

Dogs with rabies do not die after biting someone, but they do die from being infected with the virus. Rabies is an unspeakable disease that devastates and kills whomever it contacts. You need to get educated and educate others about the illness. Protecting yourself, your family, and your pets by vaccinating your dogs and cats is imperative.


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