Bangkok, Thailand has tens of thousands of street dogs. Known as soi dogs in Thailand, every street has several of them and, while most are completely harmless, rabies is present in some of them. In fact, being bitten by a street dog in Bangkok can be dangerous if not fatal. Every year, in Thailand, there are a couple of hundred deaths from rabies, as well as thousands of people getting treatment for dog bites.
Now, while I’ve lived in Bangkok for 14 years and never had any problems with street dogs, it could happen.
That’s why, if you’re bitten by a street dog in Bangkok, here’s what to do to make sure you live to see another day.
Dogs With Rabies in Bangkok, Thailand – Out of the literally tens of thousands of street dogs in Bangkok, around 5% have rabies. Getting bitten by any dog in Bangkok, can mean you’re exposed to rabies, so try to avoid that happening.
Don’t pet stray dogs, don’t get backed into a corner by a stray dog and, if you want to feed them, put the food down and then back away.
What Does a Rabid Dog Look Like? – Unfortunately, you cannot always tell when a dog has rabies. Sure, some dogs with rabies are foaming at the mouth, running around trying to bite, or looking at you with their heads severely cocked to one side. Others are completely asymptomatic, so you’ll never know they have rabies until you’re bitten by one.
What Should You Do if Bitten by a Stray Dog in Bangkok ? – If you or someone you are with is either bitten or even scratched by a dog, here’s what to do:
Firstly, move away from the dog quickly to make sure you don’t get bitten again. Try to get indoors with a door closed between you and the dog, so a further attack isn’t likely. Dog attacks can get quite vicious and you don’t want to chance it going from one bite to several.
Once inside, clean the bite or scratch with alcohol and cover it with a band-aid or bandage.
Next get someone to drive you, or take a taxi to a hospital immediately. The incubation period for rabies takes several weeks, but once the disease has developed there is no treatment for it. That’s why it’s important to get to the rabies clinic, or a hospital, and get started on the treatments as soon as possible.
The final thing is to get treatment, which will vary depending on if you’ve been immunized or not. A friend who was bitten by a dog in Bangkok several years ago had already been immunized against rabies, but he still went to a Bangkok hospital anyway.
There, he had the wound cleaned, the doctor covered it with a disinfecting agent and then he was given a booster shot of rabies vaccine, to make sure his body was immune to it.
If you haven’t been immunized against rabies, the hospital will treat the wound and then start the rabies vaccinations course. The course usually takes five injections, which will be given over a 30 day period. So, if you’re bitten in Bangkok and soon on your way home, you need to make sure you get paperwork from the doctor in Bangkok showing the injections you’ve had.
When you arrive home, go to your doctor with this piece of paper, and he should be able to finish up the injections for you.
If in doubt about a dog’s health in Bangkok, stay away from them. Getting a dog bite and having to have rabies injections is not only inconvenient, it’s also painful and dangerous to your health.
Use some common sense with stray dogs and you shouldn’t have any problems. But, if you do get bitten by a dog in Bangkok, follow these quick tips and you may just save your life.