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When Rabid dog or any other animal that can transmit rabies bites the management depends on the category of the wound.  A rabid animal bite is categorized into three categories depending on the depth and tissues involved. The deeper the wound is, the more dangerous it will be.

Wounds categorization for a rabid animal bite.

Category I wound. Categories of rabid animal bite wound

Category I wounds are not wounds actually. Because in these, the skin remains intact. If a rabid animal, feed on your hand or licks your skin, but there shouldn’t be any abrasion, or breakage of the integrity of skin epithelium then there is no risk of transmission of rabies. In this case, no vaccination is needed, only reassurance of the doubter is enough.

Category II Wounds.

Category II (two) wounds carry the moderate risk of transmission of rabies. If a rabid animal licks an uncovered area of skin, like some previous wound or abrasion or you have got a minor scratch or abrasion from an animal that can transmit rabies in such a way that no bleeding occurs, then just reassurance alone is not enough, in this case, vaccination against rabies should be done. Proper vaccination schedule should be followed.

Category III Wounds.

These are high-risk wounds. There is a very great risk of transmission of rabies if a rabid animal inflicts a category III wound. A category III wound is described as a deep wound inflicted by a rabid animal that has caused bleeding. Bite on an already abraded and broken skin and its contamination with its saliva. Contamination of the eyes, nose or mouth of the person with the saliva, sweat or other secretions from the rabid animal. If you have got such wound then you should immediately get the vaccination and your wound will be washed and infiltrated with the anti-rabies immunoglobulins.

Should I get vaccine if a non-rabid dog has bitten me?

Okay, this is a question that might have come into your mind while reading the above text. Yes, you should get the anti-rabies vaccine as soon as possible, even if the dog or cat or any other organism that has bitten you had no symptoms of rabies. Because, when a dog bites you, it may seem normal to you at the time of the bite, but he may have the rabies virus in his saliva and may develop the symptoms later. What we have a very short window period and vaccination shouldn’t be postponed, just because you want to monitor the animal for signs and symptoms of rabies for the next ten days. As for example if the animal shows signs of rabies after 10 days, at this time the vaccination may not be as useful as it could be if it was done on the first day.
If you have any questions in your mind you may comment below. Share this article with your friend.

Book: Guidelines for Human Rabies Prevention in Pakistan: by Dr. Naseem Salahuddin
Special Thanks:
Dr. Haqdad, Casuality Medical Officer, Capital Hospital Islamabad (CDA hospital), for providing with the references.

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