Rabies... things to know even if you're an old f@rt

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Rabies... things to know even if you're an old f@rt

Postby Dave_C on May 21st, 2017, 10:11 am 

I discovered all sorts of scientifically interesting things about dog bites and rabies this week that I thought might be of benefit to folks here. Had I known all this on Tuesday, things would have gone very differently.

First of all, dogs of course, need rabies shots. They’re required by law. Although it’s rather unusual for a household pet to get rabies, there are upwards of 400 cases of animals that get the disease every year in Pennsylvania (where I live), so not totally uncommon. In fact, Pennsylvania is either the #1 or #2 state in the US in number of cases.

Next, rabies is a virus that attacks the nervous system. Also, it can take 2 weeks to a year before symptoms appear And did you know that once you get symptoms, you have close to a 100% chance of dying from it?

I didn’t know that. I thought, “Well, if I get rabies, I’ll just go to the doctor and get it treated. No big deal.” Wrong…..

So I was jogging along the Appalachian trail on Tuesday when I ran past a guy with his fairly large pit bull. I saw this guy and his dog once before about 2 weeks earlier. His dog was barking and growling up a storm at the time. But I really love dogs and don’t have a fear of them so although the owner kept a tight leash on the dog, I really didn’t care and wasn’t too concerned about it. So Tuesday, the man and his beast were ahead of me as I was running down the hill. He stepped to the side (narrow trail) and was talking to some campers as I passed. Fido didn’t like me running and decided to test his teeth out on my hand. The owner wasn’t cognizant enough to haul the beast in and he managed to break the skin on the back of my hand, though not severely enough for me to worry about it. Fido master says, “Did he get you?”

I respond, “Yea, but it’s fine.” It wasn’t.

It bled a bit but I had nothing to clean it up with so I just kept going till I got home, washed it off and put some Band-Aids on. Two days later it was all swollen up and even my daughter said it didn’t look good so I reluctantly went to the doc.

In Pennsylvania, and I suspect in pretty much anywhere in the civilized world, there’s a law that says, if an animal bites a person, and because of the threat of rabies, the doctor needs to report it to the PA health department. So my doctor fills out the paperwork, gives me antibiotics for the infection, a tetanus shot, and sends me on my way. The next morning, the health department calls and explains that since I don’t have any information on the dog, I should go to the local emergency room and get the shots for rabies.

Now this all sounded like scare mongering until it was explained that if you get it, you die. Period. No second chances. And thinking back on what this guy and his dog looked like and how they acted, I wasn’t comforted by an image of a responsible dog owner and healthy animal. No, Fido was a nut case and the owner didn't seem much better, so it might be best not to take the risk.

We’ve all heard about rabies shots (us older folks) that were given in the stomach and were terribly painful. Apparently that all changed back in the 1980’s. Now it’s a series of shots that are less painful. Overall, I’d say it’s not unlike working too hard one day and getting sore muscles so I wouldn’t hesitate to get the new shots when they’re called for. The first day you get a number of shots in various muscles that depend on your weight. I got 3. In addition, you get one more for something else and a few days later (Monday for me) I’ll go back for another shot. Then one more on Friday and another the following week. All in all, I’m sure no one will run out of Band-Aids, but it’s a bit inconvenient to cut that much time out of your day to go visit the hospital all those times.

On the bright side, I learned something interesting about rabies. If you can call that a good thing…

So this is to all of you who didn’t know. If you did know, you’re a step ahead of where I was on Tuesday. Had I known, I’d have asked Hillbilly Joe if Fido was up on his shots, gotten his name and found out which cave he called home. I’ll know next time and hopefully my bad day will help someone else from being equally stupid.
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Re: Rabies... things to know even if you're an old f@rt

Postby SciameriKen on May 21st, 2017, 8:29 pm 

I remember my enjoyment with rabies shots - which actually weren't too bad, but I'm still suffering with the sticker shock lol!! So I tried to keep this little mouse dog from climbing up the freeway onramp and the thing bit me - the fun part is in Miami the only place to get the rabies shots is in the emergency room -- $100/visit co-pay, plus a total of about 5 trips -- and then they hit me with a $800 bill for whatevers a month or so later!

Your story Dave didn't tell the best part though -- You get anti-rabies superpowers for 2 years! Plus you only need a booster shot to re-up the power :D
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Re: Rabies... things to know even if you're an old f@rt

Postby Eclogite on May 22nd, 2017, 8:43 am 

Dave_C » Sun May 21, 2017 2:11 pm wrote:First of all, dogs of course, need rabies shots.
Not if you live in the UK. Not trying to be pedantic, but just a small note to remind all of us that this is a global forum and so making absolute statements that are regional or national in nature can be confusing (or even frsutrating) to other members.
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Re: Rabies... things to know even if you're an old f@rt

Postby Dave_C on May 22nd, 2017, 8:27 pm 

SciameriKen » May 21st, 2017, 7:29 pm wrote:Your story Dave didn't tell the best part though -- You get anti-rabies superpowers for 2 years! Plus you only need a booster shot to re-up the power :D

Hi Sciam, I asked the nurse today about the superpowers. She was a former vet nurse so had to get the rabies shots. Turns out, she got an annual blood test to measure something and if it's good, you don't need the booster. She said she was good for 10 years without a booster, just needed to get the test every year. Though I don't know why you wouldn't just get the booster. Seems like 6 of one, half dozen of the other to me...
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Re: Rabies... things to know even if you're an old f@rt

Postby SciameriKen on May 22nd, 2017, 10:13 pm 

Dave_C » Tue May 23, 2017 12:27 am wrote:
SciameriKen » May 21st, 2017, 7:29 pm wrote:Your story Dave didn't tell the best part though -- You get anti-rabies superpowers for 2 years! Plus you only need a booster shot to re-up the power :D

Hi Sciam, I asked the nurse today about the superpowers. She was a former vet nurse so had to get the rabies shots. Turns out, she got an annual blood test to measure something and if it's good, you don't need the booster. She said she was good for 10 years without a booster, just needed to get the test every year. Though I don't know why you wouldn't just get the booster. Seems like 6 of one, half dozen of the other to me...


Hmm maybe the 2 year number I got from my doctors was just how much they would guarantee it for -- I just figured if I get bit again I'd just get the booster then -- but of course, that is not as fun as having the super power where I could just charge in and fight rabid dogs across the lands at any time
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