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What to do if you or your pet get bitten by a potential carrier
A bite is always a scary thing. And with the reality of rabies, it can be even scarier. However, do not fear, we are here to help! Here are some steps to follow in the case of a possible-carrier bite.
Remember to get your pet vaccinated annually
Rabies control starts with proactive prevention. Your best bet is to ensure that your pet is vaccinated against the disease as this will offer them the best defence should they encounter a carrier.
Avoid the Animal
Although your instinct may be to rush to the defence of your fur baby, or to capture the animal to bring it in to be tested for rabies, it is vital to look after yourself. In these types of situations, the animal that attacked, may bite again, and you do not want to be on the receiving end of that.
Also remember that rabies can alter animals' behaviour, so an animal that would usually be scared of humans, might not be threatened by you anymore.
Your best and safest bet is to steer clear, out of attack distance.
Once you are a safe distance from the attacker, take note of the bite for later reference. Things like depth, amount of blood, and location are all important pieces of information to have.
Identify the animal (& if it has one, its owner)
If there are repercussions, such as you or your pet contracting rabies, this will be useful information for you to have.
It also allows you to ask the owner to produce their pet’s rabies vaccination certificate, which will help set your mind at ease.
Furthermore, should it turn out the animal is a carrier, this information will allow you to warn others about the animal, and help the authorities locate it.
Ensure the wound is clean.
The bitten or even lightly scratched area should be scrubbed for several minutes under running water and with a good antiseptic at the appropriate concentration, even if painful (deep wounds need immediate attention, but washing with tapwater is advised). This has the dual effect of cleaning out as much of the rabies virus as possible, as well as preventing bacterial infections.
Seek medical attention
A vet/doctor is the only person who will be able to tell you for certain whether you or your pet has contracted rabies, so an appointment with a professional is a must.
Even if you haven't contracted rabies, the wound may need other treatment, such as stitches, or an anti-bacterial cream.