Nurse Holding a Rabies Vaccination

If you or a family member were bitten by a dog, you may have questions about whether you will need to get a rabies vaccine. After a dog bite, it is a good idea to seek medical attention so that the dog bite injury can be treated and any possibility of infection such as rabies can be determined.

Not every dog bite victim will need the rabies vaccine. If there are records available showing that the dog that caused the bite has received their rabies shots and is up-to-date on their vaccines, a rabies vaccine will not be necessary. If the dog cannot be identified or there are no records of the dog’s rabies shots, then the victim will need to go through the process of getting vaccinated for rabies.

What to Do After a Dog Bite

After getting bit by a dog, it is important to seek medical treatment. A doctor will examine and clean the bite and determine if you will need to be treated for rabies. Rabies is a disease that can be transmitted through a dog bite. It can be easily treated if caught early on. If rabies is not treated, it can be fatal. Some early signs of rabies include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Discomfort

As rabies progresses, it can affect the nervous system and cause odd behavior, hostility, hallucinations, drooling, convulsions, and a loss of muscle function.

If the dog that bit you has rabies or has not been vaccinated against the disease, you will need a series of rabies shots and a rabies immune globulin shot. These shots can be painful and are given over the course of several days and weeks following the dog bite. The first shot should be given within the first 24 to 48 hours after being bitten. If the dog can be identified and tests positive for rabies, additional doses of the vaccine will be needed.

In addition to rabies, dog bites can cause serious injuries such as lacerations, torn tendons or muscles, and infection.

If you or your loved one has not received a tetanus vaccine within the last five years, a tetanus shot may be needed. Tetanus, or lockjaw, is an infection that can be caused by bacteria such as the kind found in a dog’s saliva. It can cause stiff jaw muscles or, in severe cases, muscle spasms, breathing problems, and even death. If it has been longer than five years since your last tetanus shot, a booster shot may be given.

Legal Action and Recovery

After getting bit by a dog, it is important to not only get medical treatment, file a police report, but to also contact an injury attorney. An attorney can help determine if you have a case and if you are entitled to receive compensation for your injury. Some damages that you may be compensated for include:

  • Medical treatment
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of income

Contact an Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has suffered from a dog bite, contact Hupy and Abraham, S.C. today. We can provide a free, confidential consultation to evaluate your case. To set up an appointment, fill out our convenient contact form online or call us at 1-800-800-5678.


Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.