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My child was bitten by an unregistered dog in Iowa, and I’m not sure the dog had received its rabies shots. What should I do?

A dog bite may mean your child must undergo painful rabies treatments.Iowa cities and towns require that pet dogs be registered with the municipality. Part of the registration process requires proof of a rabies vaccination from the pet’s veterinarian. However, some pet owners fail to comply with these ordinances and, thus, when someone is bitten or hurt by the dog it can be difficult to know whether the dog had received its rabies vaccine.

What Will Happen to Your Child Now?

Your child’s doctor is in the best position to determine what treatment your child may need. If there is no proof that the dog that bit your child had the rabies vaccine, then your child’s doctor may recommend that your child be treated. Rabies treatment is a series of shots that are typically given over a 14-day period. The shots are received in the arm.

While multiple shots—particularly for a child—are often unpleasant, they may be necessary to prevent rabies. Rabies is a viral disease that affects the brain and nervous system and usually results in death. There is currently no way to test for rabies in a live animal. Thus, if there is no proof that the dog that bit your child had the rabies vaccine, then your child may need to undergo treatment.

Of course, if you know who owns the dog that hurt your child, then you may be able to pursue legal damages against that person for the significant harm that has been done to your child. To find out more about your child’s legal rights after an Iowa dog bite, please read our FREE dog bite brochure, Because You Don't Always Get a Warning.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham