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Do I need the vaccine for dog bite?

Tuesday, 17 August 2004
Answered by: Chandra M. Gulhati
Editor,
MIMS,
New Delhi
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Q. I live in United States with my husband. Recently I went on a vacation to India. Accidentally, the dog in my in-laws house bit me. It's really not a bite. One of its teeth scratched my finger and blood came. We went to the doctor and he gave me TT and Verorab injection. I have already taken 4 doses but I am supposed to take the fifth one in US. I am not sure whether this medication would be available in US. What am I supposed to do? Is there a diet restriction after taking rabies shots?

A.  I presume the dog in your in-laws house means it is a domestic, pet dog. You have not stated whether the dog was itself vaccinated against rabies or not. If it was vaccinated and is hale and hearty as of now, there is no further need to take anti-rabies vaccination. On the other hand if the dog was not vaccinated and/or is dead/disappeared (i.e. not traceable) then you would need to take not one but two more injections (Usual course is on Day 0, 3, 7, 14, 30 and 90). Due to cost factors, in India the anti-rabies vaccine based on human diploid cells is no more marketed. However Aventis Pasteur sells it in the United States under the trade name of Imovax. Your doctor will be happy to help you. Your perception that it was really not a bite is incorrect. It was a bite. Any bite or erosion or even a scratch in skin that can lead to dogs saliva entering the human blood stream is to be taken seriously. TT injection was also appropriate. There is no diet restriction after vaccination.

A.  I presume the dog in your in-laws house means it is a domestic, pet dog. You have not stated whether the dog was itself vaccinated against rabies or not. If it was vaccinated and is hale and hearty as of now, there is no further need to take anti-rabies vaccination. On the other hand if the dog was not vaccinated and/or is dead/disappeared (i.e. not traceable) then you would need to take not one but two more injections (Usual course is on Day 0, 3, 7, 14, 30 and 90). Due to cost factors, in India the anti-rabies vaccine based on human diploid cells is no more marketed. However Aventis Pasteur sells it in the United States under the trade name of Imovax. Your doctor will be happy to help you. Your perception that it was really not a bite is incorrect. It was a bite. Any bite or erosion or even a scratch in skin that can lead to dogs saliva entering the human blood stream is to be taken seriously. TT injection was also appropriate. There is no diet restriction after vaccination.

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