While infection is the biggest concern after a dog bite, rabies is also something of which you must be aware. Still, you need to know that the chances of getting rabies from a bite are low.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes most dogs have vaccinations against rabies and have not had exposure. But there is still a protocol that officials will follow just to be safe because rabies causes a severe sickness.
Quarantine and signs
The animal that bites you will usually go into quarantine to watch for signs of rabies. This period typically lasts about 10 days, depending on local law. Most dogs will be free of the disease. The only time for real concern is when a dog is sick or it is a stray dog whose medical background is unknown. In those situations, you may need to seek further medical care.
If there is a chance the dog has rabies, then you will need to go through a vaccination series against the disease. Typically, this will happen if there is a good reason to think the dog may be ill. If rabies is prevalent in your area, for example, and you have no idea of the dog’s vaccination history, then your health care provider may recommend the shot series.
If the animal is in quarantine and you are fairly certain it is healthy, there is generally no need to get the vaccines.
In general, dogs are not a huge rabies risk. You are more likely to contract it from a cat or other type of animal. Still, it is important to seek medical care after a bite to ward off any potential infections or other issues.