Dog ate chocolate?

ask a vet

Dog playing with a bat - rabies?

Species: Dog
Breed: mixed
Age: Less than 3 mon
My new puppy 7 weeks old has just has a few of his early shots. He was just in the yard playing...after a few minutes I found him playing with a bat that was dead. Can he get rabies? Is there anything we should do? I have to run out for an hour. Thanks...I may have to log back in.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks for your question about Leo. I would highly recommend contacting your local health unit. If you are not sure of the number you can call either your veterinarian or the hospital.

Do you still have the body of the bat? In most areas, the health unit will come out and pick up the bat and test it for rabies.

We used to think that 10% of bats carry rabies. However, just yesterday I wrote an article about a new study that showed that this number is actually less than 1 per cent.

The way that a bat can transmit rabies is through the saliva. So, if the bat had bitten Leo then there is likely a one in one hundred chance that rabies was transmitted.

Rabies is definitely something to take seriously. Leo would not have had a rabies vaccine yet as it is not effective in dogs unless given after 3 months of age, so we wait until that time to give it.

While I think it is extremely unlikely that Leo has gotten rabies, here are some things to look for:
  • Unusual Aggressive behavior

  • Ataxia (i.e. walking like he is drunk)

  • Seizures

  • Lack of appetite

  • Difficulty opening jaw

  • Excess drooling



The symptoms of rabies usually come on within 2-10 days of exposure. So, keep a close eye on him at this time.

If you think there are any of these symptoms then don't take any chances. Please take him to a vet right away. If he is aggressive towards you then you may need to call your vet for help in how to handle him. If a dog with rabies bites a person it can be fatal.

Unfortunately there is no test for rabies that can be done on Leo. The only test is to examine brain tissue which is something that can only be done on deceased animals.

Again, it is very unlikely that he has rabies. Hopefully you can have the bat tested. And if you have concerns then contact your vet right away.

I hope all is well!

Dr. Marie.


Do you have a pet website? Interested in learning more about SEO for Wix?


Check out our dog age calculator and cat age calculator.

Want to receive pet coupons, vet advice and info on new pet products in your inbox?

* indicates required

We'll only send you great stuff, never spam. Unsubscribe any time.

Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Search for similar questions:

ask a vet

Popular questions...

Dog ate sewing needle. I think my dog has swallowed a sewing needle. What should I... (39625 views)

Is it ok to shave a cat? Dear Dr. Marie, Greetings from Singapore! This is my 4th time writing to... (12558 views)

Dog cowers and pees. my dog seems afraid of me when i call her over she cowers and pees when she walks... (14030 views)

Is ketoconazole safe? Hi. My 6 y/o Papillon has suffered fron skin problems his whole life. I've been told... (5918 views)

Red sores in front of cat's ear. Hi Dr. Haynes Thank you for offering this service and reviewing my question. My... (56974 views)

Tail tip injury. our dog is golden retriever 5 years old, he had happy tail and somehow cut the tip... (8399 views)

Old dog vomiting. My dog has been throwing up food that she eats except soft stuff, she is old and she... (16868 views)

Not putting weight on leg. Our cat jumped off the fridge and did something to his back leg. He limps now. When... (12495 views)

Keep dachshund from jumping? Hello, About 2 months ago I woke to find that my dachshund could not move her hind... (11862 views)

Rapid wheezing in a cat. My family adopted a cat from the humane society almost a year ago. When we got her... (11906 views)

See all questions...

Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.