Preparing for your appointment

If an animal bites you, seek medical attention for the wound. Also tell the doctor about the circumstances of your injury. The doctor will ask:

  • What animal bit you?
  • Was it a wild animal or a pet?
  • If it was a pet, do you know to whom the animal belongs? Was it vaccinated?
  • Can you describe the animal's behavior before it bit you? Was the animal provoked?
  • Were you able to capture or kill the animal after it bit you?

What you can do in the meantime

Wash your wound gently and thoroughly with soap and generous amounts of water. This may help wash away the virus.

If the animal that bit you can be contained or captured without causing more injury, do so. Do not kill the animal with a blow or a shot to the head, as the resulting injuries may make it difficult to perform laboratory tests to determine whether the animal has rabies.

Tell your doctor that you have captured the animal that bit you. Your doctor may then contact the local health department to determine what to do with the animal.

Nov. 04, 2016
References
  1. Ferri FF. Rabies. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2017. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 24, 2016.
  2. Longo DL, et al., eds. Rabies and other rhabdovirus infections. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. http://accessmedicine.com. Accessed Aug. 24, 2016.
  3. AskMayoExpert. Rabies. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
  4. Rabies. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/. Accessed Aug. 24, 2016.
  5. Papadakis MA, et al., eds. Viral and rickettsial infections. In: Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2017. 56th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2017. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Aug. 24, 2016.
  6. Rabies vaccine information statements. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/rabies.html. Accessed Aug. 24, 2016.