How is rabies diagnosed?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

No test can diagnose rabies immediately after an animal bite. That is why you should get rabies treatment promptly if you suspect you might have been exposed to rabies, just to be safe. Doctors can diagnose rabies, but only by running several tests on your blood, skin, spinal fluid, and saliva. If a cat, dog, or other low-risk animal bites you, the animal may be observed for 10 days to make sure it's not rabid. Tests can also be run on a dead animal, to see if it was rabid when it bit you.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.