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.



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...

Vomiting kitten. My 4 week kitten was abandoned by his mom when he was a few days old. He is very... (4730 views)

Seizures due to brain tumor? Hello I have a 9 year old standard poodle (neutured) that has had a seizure episode... (16527 views)

Will mating kill my dog? i have had my dog for 2 weeks an she has just mated with my brothers dog but the... (6586 views)

Swelling above dog's eye. This morning I noticed redness and swelling of my dog's upper eyelid. I gave him one... (25778 views)

Lethargic shih tzu My dog came home from the cottage this weekend and is acting very odd. He walks a... (21955 views)

Dropped puppy on head. I have a 5 week old puppy, one of 6, he weighs less than 1 pound. My 2 year old... (31911 views)

Dog has a bald patch over eye. Hello, I have a miniature Dashchund which is 5 mnths old and she is in perfect... (11821 views)

Breeding big and small dogs. My little girl--weight 11 lbs-- got possibly impregnated (accicdentally--he broke... (68216 views)

Bladder cancer and can't walk. I accidentally closed the window the first time I got directed here so think that I... (10402 views)

Cat not eating. About 2 Weeks ago I took Emma to the Vet because pretty much overnight her Appetite... (8690 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.