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While trying to feed a stray puppy in my neighbourhood, I got a needle point pierce from his tooth on my thumb, with some blood also.

Immediately I rushed to the Doctor and got myself anti-rabies vaccination.

Doctor asked me to watch out for the puppy for at least 1 week to see if he dies or not.

My concerning queries are:

  1. What is the connection of getting rabies from a dog and his death?
  2. Should I be worried if he dies within a week?
  3. Does bite from a 2 months old puppy can risk humans being infected from rabies?

Also, this puppy has been ill for past 2 days. (No obvious symptoms and he just seems to be ill because he is neither eating nor drinking anything.)

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1) Rabies is rapidly, and very unpleasantly, fatal. If the dog has rabies it is unlikely to survive a week and probably, at that age, unlikely to survive more than a few days.

2) Only if the puppy was itself infected. You probably got bitten just because it was either scared or overenthusiastic.

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  • so the connection between rabies and death of a dog is that if a dog has rabies he is unlikely to survive.Am I right in my understanding? – a.s. Mar 15 '15 at 6:36
  • In some parts of the world rabies is very common, so I've edited your statement that the puppy being infected is unlikely. – Zaralynda Mar 15 '15 at 13:35
  • Zaralynda: good edit, thanks. @a.s. Extremely unlikely to survive. For what it's worth, in the US, a feral dog who bit someone might be killed, and have its brain examined for evidence of rabies. Pets are generally quarentined for observation if there's any possible risk. – keshlam Mar 15 '15 at 15:59
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    @a.s. That's because rabies is - as far as I know - always fatal (unless the carry is resistant, which is very uncommon). So the dog being alive a week later would be a very strong indicator for no infection. – Mario Mar 16 '15 at 8:36
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    @Mario: oh! I see and Thank you everyone for sharing these informations. On a sanguine note, I would like to share that this puppy is recovering from his unknown illness. – a.s. Mar 16 '15 at 11:01
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To add to the existing answer:

  1. What is the connection of getting rabies from a dog and his death?

An observation period of 10 days is one way of determining whether an asymptomatic, low risk animal has rabies. Domestic pets are lower risk than wild animals, although this is a stray which puts this pup at risk. Biopsies from the brain (post mortem) is the only definitive way to diagnose rabies.

  1. Should I be worried if he dies within a week?

Dogs are in a lower risk group of carrying rabies, but it would be worrying, although there could be many reasons for the dog's death. I think observing the dogs health prior to death would also be a good idea. If the dog had trouble walking, swallowing, produced excess saliva, wouldn't drink, became excessively aggressive or shy (although some of these are also symptoms of other conditions).

  1. Does bite from a 2 months old puppy can risk humans being infected from rabies?

Yes if the dog has rabies, the skin is broken and saliva comes into contact with the wound. In fact people with open wounds should take care when handling things that may have been rummaged by rabid animals, as the saliva can still transmit the illness through an existing wound, the animal doesn't need to bite the person. The same can happen through the nose and eyes.

Rabies is spread by saliva and brain and nerve tissue.

In terms of minimising the risk washing and rinsing the wound well in soapy water is the first course of action.

If rabies has been transmitted, waiting to see if the dog dies is too late for treatment of the human being if it is indeed infected. By the time an individual (any type of animal) is displaying symptoms, the disease is usually fatal, so time is of the essence.

In the United States, postexposure prophylaxis consists of a regimen of one dose of immune globulin and four doses of rabies vaccine over a 14-day period. Rabies immune globulin and the first dose of rabies vaccine should be given by your health care provider as soon as possible after exposure. Additional doses or rabies vaccine should be given on days 3, 7, and 14 after the first vaccination. Current vaccines are relatively painless and are given in your arm, like a flu or tetanus vaccine.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rabies, When should I seek medical attention?

Human rabies immune globulin (HRIG) is administered only once, at the beginning of anti-rabies prophylaxis, to previously unvaccinated persons. This will provide immediate antibodies until the body can respond to the vaccine by actively producing antibodies of its own. If possible, the full dose of HRIG should be thoroughly infiltrated in the area around and into the wounds. Any remaining volume should be injected intramuscularly at a site distant from vaccine administration.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rabies, Human Rabies Immune Globulin

General reference for this answer: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rabies

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