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Old 11-18-2008, 01:29 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Northeast Iowa
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Purpose of Quarantine?

I didn't want to hijack a dog bite post, so I brought my question over here.

What's the purpose of a 10 day quarantine after a dog bite?

From what I understand, you need to get shots within 24 or 48 hours after an exposure to rabies or you'll probably die.

It seems that they don't give rabies shots if you've been bitten by a domestic dog or cat that doesn't have symptoms. So if a dog bites you and nine days into quarantine it develops rabies symptoms, doesn't that just mean they can tell you what you'll die of?

If the risk of rabies from a domestic dog is that slim, then why quarantine at all?

Just one of those things that I've wondered about for a quite a while.
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Old 11-18-2008, 01:59 PM
jakesfostermom's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: San Antonio, TX USA
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Re: Purpose of Quarantine?

Shane - unfortunately I've had a dog quarantined in the past few years and it was explained to me that there is a belief that dogs who have never bitten before, and suddenly do, could be in the early stage of rabies - thus explaining the 'sudden bite' - to me this is such an antiquated thought process - but this is how my former vet explained it to me. In those 10 days of quarantine, if the dog were 'rabid' - they would begin to show other visible symptoms. This is the only way for a positive rabies diagnosis in a "live dog", from what I understand. I can't speak on how that works with being bitten and the need for shots in a given period of time for the human involved.

Even with a current rabies vaccination, my dog was quarantined after biting the vet tech, in the vet clinic who administered the vaccine (a 3 yr vaccine given one year before the bite, by the way). When I questioned the 'why' given he was current on this vaccine - this was the reason, along with the codes/ordinances/laws of my city. I'm guessing the laws are more the reason.

Had I opted to euthanize my dog for biting this vet tech, they would have immediately removed his head/brain and sent it for rabies testing. Maybe one of our vets will comment further, but this is my 2 cents from our experience.
Vicki & The Gang

Last edited by jakesfostermom; 11-18-2008 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 11-18-2008, 05:35 PM
jakesfostermom's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: San Antonio, TX USA
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Re: Purpose of Quarantine?

Had a minute to see what I could find on-line about rabies quarantine and the City of Wichita, KS offers a pretty good question & answer page about this:

This is almost exactly what our city mandates, although 'home quarantine' is not an option here. We had to board our dog in a city approved 'quarantine facility' for oversight at our expense, or we could have used the city shelter (not a chance). Once the quarantine period was over, with no resulting 'rabid dog' - the vet at the boarding clinic submitted their report to the city and we could pick up our dog.
Vicki & The Gang
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Old 11-18-2008, 06:19 PM
Join Date: Jan 1970
Location: Chicago, IL
Re: Purpose of Quarantine?

The window to start treatment is not as small as 24-48 hours; more like 10-14 days. Sooner rather than later is preferred, of course, but if as in your example the dog shows symptoms on day 9, you could safely start treatment then.

Here are some URLs from the Centers for Disease Control site:

They also state that "No person in the United States has ever contracted rabies from a dog, cat or ferret held in quarantine for 10 days."
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Old 11-19-2008, 04:37 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Texas/U.S.A.
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Re: Purpose of Quarantine?

Originally Posted by jakesfostermom View Post
We had to board our dog in a city approved 'quarantine facility' for oversight at our expense, or we could have used the city shelter (not a chance).
You bring up a good point. The biggest city shelter in my area has put several pits and rotties, who were at the shelter for various reasons, down due to "paper work errors," yeah right! At one time there was a shelter worker/ACO(?) who routinely told people they couldn't pick up their dogs for 3 days. They actually had 3 days to pick the dogs up before they were PTS. The fact that these mistakes are always made with just those two breeds, makes it really hard for me to believe it's a coincidence.
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