Skip to content
Rabies Transmission
An_250797 posted:
Hello. I apologize if this is not the correct forum to post this question, but I couldn't find another that seemed to make more sense. I have a scenario that I would like an opinion on. I was visiting a home a few days ago and they have three small Chihuahua's and a cat. The Chihuahua's were very friendly and jumping around. During this process, the dogs were licking my hands and once got close enough to lick my face. I am concerned becuase I have no idea/have no way of knowing whether or not these animals have been vaccinated. What if saliva from the dog got into my mouth somehow? Could this really transmit rabies? I am reading conflicting information. Some places say that a dog has to be showing signs of rabies to transmit the virus (they weren't that I could tell) and others say that they can transmit it a few days before. I have also read that it is unlikely that a domestic dog has rabies in the US. What are your thoughts? Would this warrant my speaking with a doctor or am I being ridiculous? Please let me know. Thank you very much.
rohvannyn responded:
Even if the dog had rabies, it would have had to touch broken skin to transmit it. Ask your firend how their dogs are doing in a few days. When you find they are not rabid, you will be fine. They would have had to be bitten too, after all.
rohvannyn responded:
Okay, did some research. In order for you to get rabies from a dog's saliva, the dog would have to be symptomatic because dogs are not asymptomatic carriers. You would have to have a lot of saliva enter your mouth and most likely also have open sores. Also, you are correct that dogs are highly unlikely to be infected with rabies. Especially companion animals, who usually won't be tangling with rabid bats or opossums.

Hope this eases your mind somewhat.


William Draper, DVM, better known as "Dr. Will," is a well-known small animal practitioner in the Atlanta, GA area. He grew up in Inglewood,...More

Helpful Tips

Excellent website for information on parasites in dogs and catsExpert
I just conducted a seminar and hands-on demonstration on diagnosis of fecal parasites to veterinarians and technicians. An excellent ... More
Was this Helpful?
33 of 48 found this helpful

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Learn more about the AVMA

WebMD Special Sections