I have already seeked medical attention but wanted to get


Q: I have already seeked medical attention but wanted to get a second opinion. I was on a run 6 days ago and was bitten by a dog on a leash being walked by it's owner (I am in Long Beach, CA). It looked to be a young german shepherd. I may have spooked it while running towards the dog and it's owner, so it lunged towards me. I didn't feel the dog actually bite me so I kept running by without stopping to talk to the owner. About 20 minutes later when I stopped my run I realized I was bleeding a little on my upper right thigh. The dog ripped my shorts a little but the bite did not puncture the spandex I was wearing. It did puncture the skin and I cleaned the wound with soap and water as soon as I got home.

I went to urgent care where they gave me a tetanus shot ( I was due for one anyways). The issue is that since I kept running I was now unable to confirm if the dog was up to date on it's rabies vaccine. The doctor was not worried and told me that there hasn't been a case of canine rabies in LA County in 30 years. It seems to be healing just fine, but I wanted a second opinion as to my risk and whether I should seek further medical attention. I understand rabies have virtually been eliminated in domestic dogs in the U.S. and my chances are very small, but is there anything else I should be doing as a precaution besides trying to locate the dog?


A:   Hello. Welcome to Ask The Doctor. We are here to help you.

The bite you had was quite significant and requires vaccination. I do agree with your doctor that since there are no cases since last 30 years so chances are almost negligible. But my point is that why to take even the negligible risk! Rabies is 100% fatal and so if I had been your doctor I would have vaccinated you.

You can start vaccination and keep a watch on the dog. You may take dose 0, 3, 7 and then if the dog is fine and shows no symptoms of rabies then you can skip the further vaccine doses.

In my opinion you should get vaccinated to be sure.
I hope it helps. If you have any further query, please ask me.

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