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My daughter was bitten by a dog in Appleton. Will she need to get shots to prevent rabies?

When a child is bitten by a dog, it is a good idea to seek medical attention. The doctor will be able to clean the bite and will determine if your daughter needs antibiotics or vaccines. There are two types of vaccines that are commonly administered after a Wisconsin dog bite.

Tetanus Vaccine

Tetanus, or lockjaw, is a type of infection that is caused by the bacteria, Clostridium tetani. C. tetani is found in soil, in dust, and virtually everywhere. In the body, C. tetani produces a toxic substance that affects the brain and the nervous system. The most common symptom is stiff jaw muscles, but other muscles can also be affected. Severe tetanus infections can cause severe muscle spasms and serious breathing problems. Tetanus is often fatal.

If your child has had at least four doses of the DTaP vaccine and the last shot was within five years, your child will not need another dose of DTaP. If your child has had had three or fewer doses of DTaP, or it has been more than five years since the last dose, she will need a tetanus booster shot. Side effects are rare and may include fever, redness, soreness, and swelling.

Rabies Vaccine

Most dogs in the United States are vaccinated against rabies, so rabies is not normally a concern. However, if your child is bitten by a dog and you are not sure if the dog has had a rabies vaccine, you should contact your pediatrician. If the dog has not been vaccinated or cannot be identified, your child will need to receive a Rabies Immune Globulin and a rabies vaccine within 48 hours of being bitten. Additional doses will be needed if the dog tests positive for rabies.

Rabies is a serious disease that affects the nervous system. People infected with rabies may behave oddly, act hostile, experience hallucinations, and suffer drooling, muscle spasms, convulsions, and loss of muscle function. Rabies is often fatal. Although rabies shots are painful, there are few side effects.

No child should have to suffer from a dog bite or from the painful aftermath. If your child was bitten by a dog in Wisconsin, our Appleton injury lawyers can help you get accountability. Contact Hupy and Abraham at (800) 800-5678 to learn more.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham