Say the word “rabies” to the average person, and they’re likely to think of crazy, snarling animals foaming at the mouth and ready to attack at any moment. They may even start talking about the dog in Stephen King’s Cujo and how this lovable family pet became a cold-blooded killer. While this visual isn’t always a precise illustration, it’s certainly closer to reality.
Rabies is not something you want to mess with. Except in a few rare cases where people survived without treatment, rabies is a deadly disease that must be treated immediately if you hope you make it through the ordeal alive. Once symptoms of the disease begin to present themselves, it’s too late for treatment, which means you must act quickly.
Although rabies is a deadly disease, remember that an effective cure has been available for many years. In other words, you are NOT going to die just from having rabies… and you have plenty of time to seek treatment. So, even if you can’t determine whether an animal that bit you had rabies (if it was a wild animal who ran away after attacking you, for instance), you’re going to live through the disease. And for those of you who remember the old rabies vaccine being administered via multiple injections to the stomach, relax – the new vaccines go in your shoulder and are not nearly as severe.
Don’t Discount the Type of Animal
While the vast majority of rabies transmissions from animal to human are done by dogs, several other types of warm-blooded animals, mostly mammals, can carry the disease as well. These include cattle, bats, raccoons, cats, foxes, skunks, and coyotes. Rabies is transmitted through the saliva of one animal to the other, most often by way of bites and scratches. So, if you’ve been attacked by any of these animals, be sure to seek medical attention quickly.
The last thing you want to do if you fear that you’ve been exposed to rabies is to sit around and wait. As we explained above, once symptoms begin to present themselves, treatment is too late. Yes, we also said above that you have “plenty of time,” but what we mean by that is that you’re not going to die in the next hour. Rabies takes at least a few days to incubate, so if you get to the hospital that day, you’ll be fine.
Capture the Animal
To determine if an animal that has bitten you is currently carrying rabies, a doctor or veterinarian will need to examine the creature. So, if animal control can safely subdue and capture the animal, it can be quarantined for a period of time to see if it develops rabies symptoms. However, you may need to start treatment before the animal’s quarantine period ends. Capturing the animal is easier for animal control if the animal is a pet. If it’s a wild animal, you may just have to suck it up and go through treatment without examining the animal. With rabies, it’s best to be safe than sorry.
Keep Up with Treatments
Rabies is a curable disease when acted quickly upon, but it’s not a one-shot deal. Treatment is done over a series of shots within a one-month timeframe. It is important that you follow the doctor’s orders to the letter to ensure that your body and brain are protected from the rabies virus. Also, follow any antibiotics treatment or anything else the doctor believes would be beneficial to ensure your safety and well-being.
If you have experienced an animal attack, either due to rabies or simply an aggressive animal, you may need representation to get your losses covered. Mintz Law Firm has handled many dog bite cases and our team knows how to argue your case. Reach out to us for a free case evaluation today.