Though rabies is rare in the United States, it’s still a potential danger and is almost always fatal when left untreated. Rabies can be prevented and treated with an appropriate vaccine.

What kinds of animals get rabies?

There are many animals that can carry rabies. Some include:

  • Bats
  • Skunks
  • Raccoons
  • Coyotes
  • Foxes
  • Dogs 

Though dogs in the United States rarely carry rabies, it’s possible that they could if they have been in contact with a carrier and do not have a rabies vaccination. Any mammal can get rabies, but cold-blooded creatures cannot. 

Rabies is extremely rare in the United States, especially among humans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that there are only around one to three cases of the disease reported each year. 

Even though that’s the case, it’s important to seek medical attention if you are bitten by a dog or other animal that may not have had a vaccination against rabies. Symptoms may appear days, weeks or months after a bite, but treatment needs to take place quickly. Once the virus leaves the local bite area, it will travel through the nerves and reach the brain. Advanced stages are almost always fatal. In fact, if someone is experiencing symptoms, the disease may already have progressed too much to prevent their death.  

How do you know if a dog is carrying the disease?

The only way to know if a dog has rabies is to have it tested. If you’re bitten, ask the dog’s owner if the dog has had a vaccine for rabies. If not, or if the vaccination has expired, you may need to receive a dose of the rabies vaccine to prevent the illness. 

A dog bite can lead to serious consequences for the victim. If you’re injured, make sure that you find out everything you can about your options for compensation.