Dogs are great human’s friends. However, this warm-blooded animal also has a bad reputation as a rabies carrier. Rabies itself is a virus which attacks the animal’s nervous system and definitely possible to be passed through the humans. Besides dogs, there are some other animals which are capable of carrying and transmitting rabies, such as possums, raccoons, ferrets, skunks, foxes, bats, cats, and coyotes. Rabid animal’s bites can be deadly if not taken care properly.
How to treat a rabies animal bite
Rabies can be transferred to humans through animal’s bite and saliva. It is going to go to the bloodstream and is capable of causing death. Both domestic and wild animals mentioned previously might carry the virus. Hence, treating wounds caused by animal bite is essential, not only for promoting faster healing, but also to prevent rabies exposure. Helpful methods for treating suspected rabid animal bites include:
- If the bitten area is bleeding, put some pressure on it to stop this bleeding. Use clean towels to absorb runny blood and give sufficient pressure on the wound.
- Care for the wound immediately by washing it thoroughly with gentle soap and runny water to kill rabies virus at the infection site.
- Dry the wound using a clean towel by patting it. Do not rub the wound as it might tear the tissues.
- Apply antibiotic ointment onto the affected area and let the wound remain open. Do not cover or stitch the wound as it can trap rabies virus within the nervous system.
- See a doctor for further treatment. When the doctor is quite assured that you might probably be exposed to rabies, he will immediately give you an injection of rabies immunoglobulin, which has the function of neutralizing rabies virus so that it can be inhibited from spreading all over the nervous system.
- You will also be given the rabies vaccine which will be injected within two weeks post bite.
Rabies virus spreads very quickly inside human’s body when not treated. Hence, it is really important to seek for medical helps immediately after you got bitten, especially if you are sure that the animals—cats, dogs, possums, raccoons, etc. are rabid.
Although wounds caused by animal bite can be cared for at home, it is important to note some symptoms as an indication of required further medical attention, such as:
- The wound is located on the joint or veins and other sensitive body areas. Wounds on the facial skin also need immediate medical attention.
- The wound keeps bleeding for more than ten minutes after pressure is given.
- The pain is excruciating and does not gets better within hours.
- The biting animals have strange or uncontrollable behavior.
Preventing rabies in humans and pets
One of the most effective ways of getting rid of rabies in humans is by performing some preventive methods. As rabies virus is often carried by animals, it is also important to observe and keep these animals away from the virus. Some preventive methods are really effective in keeping rabies away, such as:
- Get the pet vaccinated. Pets such as dogs, cats, rabbits, and even ferrets should be taken to the vet for vaccination. Rabies vaccination can be given when the pet is over 6 month old. This vaccination should be repeated once a year.
- Avoid direct contact with stray and wild animals, and keep your pets away from these animals as well. Supervise the pets when they are outside, so that wild animal’s bite can be minimized. In order to minimize wild or stray animal attraction to the house, keep the area clean and tidy. Be sure to keep outdoor trash cans enclosed, so that raccoons and other wild animals are not attracted to it.
- Prevent bats from coming into your house. Seal off all possible entries which can be used by bats to get into the house, such as the cracks and holes.
- Before going abroad, have yourself vaccinated for rabies, as in some countries, rabies has been a rising problem. Hence, if you are traveling to countries prone to rabies virus, it is better to do a preventive vaccination beforehand.