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-   -   Dog Bite in Zurich / Legal and Rabies Shots Advice ? (https://www.englishforum.ch/family-matters-health/303641-dog-bite-zurich-legal-rabies-shots-advice.html)

makeabigwish 14.04.2021 13:48

Dog Bite in Zurich / Legal and Rabies Shots Advice ?
 
Hello,

I was riding my bike past some people a few days ago in Zurich on a good size path where signs show walkers and cyclists are allowed, and their medium/small dog chased after me, bit and scratched me on the leg which tore through my jeans.

The bite/scratch punctured the skin, created a bleeding wound from the scratching and swelled up.

I went home, thoroughly washed and dressed it, went to an urgent care clinic next day where they gave me an ointment, more dressings and antibiotics.

The owner was super concerned and very apologetic, said this was extremely unlike the dog and has never happened before, exchanged contact details and has offered to pay for the jeans and the medical care.

My questions:

1) Have any general info on dog bites in CH/ZH?

All this seems very straightforward above and I appreciate the owner's handling of the situation. At the same time, I like the feeling of being fully informed about what the general guidance in Switzerland and Zurich is about how dog bites are handled since I have no knowledge or experience in this area.

Anyone willing to give general info about what the stance on dog bites is in ZH and CH ?? Or any general experiences or observational thoughts and advice?


2) Rabies Shots?

I am unsure whether to go back to the doctor and encourage rabies shots. The particular doctor at the urgent care also did not seem to have a lengthy experience on "dog bites in Switzerland", had a relaxed approached (didn't ask some basic questions) and was distracted by a sudden rush of incoming patients. So I'd probably go back to a normal private practice doctor.

I do need to inquire with the owner about the dog's rabies vaccination history.

The owner and dog did seem to give the impression that this dog would most probably not have been exposed to rabies and I'm guessing this is extremely rare in CH.

However, then I read things like:
. animals can much more easily have come into contact with wild animals than you think
. post rabies shots aren't has complicated or hurt as much as they used to
. you have to start getting them soon to be effective
. rabies is 100% fatal once symptoms start
. rabies are 100% preventable, might as well just start getting shots to be safe since infection is fatal.

Also, what enters into my mind .... I'm am generally trying to stay out of doctor's offices during covid. While doctors are doing all they can, I think twice about doing a long series of visits while we might be going into a 3rd wave and when I just have a couple of months to go until getting Covid vaccinated (let's hope).

Any thoughts? Know of any centers/doctors that are very familiar with this and have the resources to treat?



Thanks for any thoughts,

MakeABigWish

bowlie 14.04.2021 14:05

Re: Dog Bite in Zurich / Legal and Rabies Shots Advice ?
 
Rabies is not endemic to Switzerland which was declared rabies-free in the 1990s. It is extremely unlikely that a household pet would be carrying the disease.

Sean Connery 14.04.2021 14:14

Re: Dog Bite in Zurich / Legal and Rabies Shots Advice ?
 
If you're satisfied that the owner is handling it correctly, chalk it up to experience. If you think it's something regular, you can report it.

https://www.zh.ch/de/umwelt-tiere/ti...en-melden.html

If the owner is as responsible as it seems from your story, the dog will have a rabies shot every 3 years.

makeabigwish 14.04.2021 14:20

Re: Dog Bite in Zurich / Legal and Rabies Shots Advice ?
 
"Rabies is not endemic to Switzerland which was declared rabies-free in the 1990s."


"If the owner is as responsible as it seems from your story, the dog will have a rabies shot every 3 years"


Thanks. This is super useful info.

Island Monkey 14.04.2021 14:27

Re: Dog Bite in Zurich / Legal and Rabies Shots Advice ?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by makeabigwish (Post 3296337)
"If the owner is as responsible as it seems from your story, the dog will have a rabies shot every 3 years"

The rabies vaccine is only required if you travel outside of Switzerland with your dog, other than that it is not a normal vaccine in Switzerland. That said - I wouldn't be having a rabies vaccine after a dog bite in Switzerland, chances of it having rabies are incredibly low.

curley 14.04.2021 15:16

Re: Dog Bite in Zurich / Legal and Rabies Shots Advice ?
 
You need the tetanus jab if you don't have a valid one.
I'm surprised they didn't ask you/give it to you at the urgent care clinic. Standard procedure in such a case.

bowlie 14.04.2021 15:30

Re: Dog Bite in Zurich / Legal and Rabies Shots Advice ?
 
My vet no longer gives cats a rabies jab, only if they are travelling.
Red Foxes were a problem in the 80s but the Swiss came up with an innovative solution.

Chicken heads engorged with rabies vaccine dropped from helicopters..

makeabigwish 14.04.2021 16:46

Re: Dog Bite in Zurich / Legal and Rabies Shots Advice ?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by curley (Post 3296350)
You need the tetanus jab if you don't have a valid one.
I'm surprised they didn't ask you/give it to you at the urgent care clinic. Standard procedure in such a case.


I asked for this and I brought my vaccine records showing I my last tetanus jab seven years ago.

Everything online said it would be standard for the doctor to give me a booster and definitely if I had a punctured dog bite and my last jab was over five years old.

This doctor said that was out of date and the latest info says I only need a booster every 20 years.

Anyone heard of this or have any thoughts?

bowlie 14.04.2021 17:01

Re: Dog Bite in Zurich / Legal and Rabies Shots Advice ?
 
From the CDC (US) website.
Quote:

Adults age 19 and older
Adults need 1 booster shot of the Td vaccine every 10 years as part of their routine vaccine schedule. If you get a deep cut or a burn, you may need the booster earlier — especially if the cut or burn is dirty.

Landers 14.04.2021 17:12

Re: Dog Bite in Zurich / Legal and Rabies Shots Advice ?
 
I would (if it were me) report it to the police. What if instead of your leg it was a baby in a pram? An "oh nevermind, these things happen" approach is totally inappropriate for a random dog attack. In my opinion. I'd also be asking for more than actual costs.

evop 14.04.2021 17:21

Re: Dog Bite in Zurich / Legal and Rabies Shots Advice ?
 
That is actually 20 years for adults between 25 and 65 in Switzerland.

https://www.infovac.ch/de/impfunge/n...nus#vr-tetanus

Quote:

Originally Posted by DE
Erwachsenen und Senioren (alle 20 Jahre für die Impfung im Alter zwischen 25 und 64 Jahren, danach alle 10 Jahre).

Quote:

Originally Posted by EN
Adults and seniors (every 20 years for vaccination between the ages of 25 and 64, and every 10 years thereafter).


meloncollie 14.04.2021 17:24

Re: Dog Bite in Zurich / Legal and Rabies Shots Advice ?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by makeabigwish (Post 3296379)

Anyone heard of this or have any thoughts?

My thought is that you should ask this question of qualified professionals rather than here on EF.

If you are not comfortable with what your doctor has told you, seek a second opinion from another doctor.

Take your internet research with you when you speak to your/another doctor, ask specifically why the recommendation has changed.

---

A word on rabies in Switzerland:

Yes, as Bowlie points out, Switzerland is a low risk country.

While a rabies vax is not required within Switzerland - because it is a low risk country - many, perhaps most, dogs here are indeed vax'd against rabies, at least the initial important ground immunization. I don't know what the percentage is, but my experience has been that the number is high because a vaild rabies vax is required for cross border travel, for staying in many dog Pensions, and for attendance at a number of training schools.

But be that as it may, the incidence of rabies in Switzerland is low. From the BAG website:
https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/de/home...k/tollwut.html

Die letzten Fälle bei einheimischen Tieren – mit Ausnahme der Fledermäuse – wurden 1996 beobachtet. Die Schweiz gilt seit 1999 offiziell als frei von terrestrischer Tollwut.

Translation: The last case of domestic rabies, with the exception of bats, was seen in 1996. Since 1999 Switzerland is officially free from terrestrial rabies.

---

Most dogs in Switzerland have a passport, the rabies jab info is listed there with date, lot number, expiry date, and is stamped by the vet who administered it. The owner of the dog can show you or send you a photocopy of the vax page if you wish.

---

The doctor who treated you is a mandatory reporter and (generally speaking, some exceptions might apply) should report a bite to the cantonal Veterinäramt. It is then up to the Veterinäramt to decide if further action should be taken and what that action should be. These decisions are generally case dependent.


If you need further information on the reporting process, contact the cantonal Veterinäramt.

ETA:

Another FYI: Every dog owner in canton ZH carries liability insurance.

---

I am glad to hear that the owner is being cooperative and taking his or her responsibilities seriously.

And I wish you a speedy recovery and all the best.

Spinal 14.04.2021 17:26

Re: Dog Bite in Zurich / Legal and Rabies Shots Advice ?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by makeabigwish (Post 3296330)
Hello,

I was riding my bike past some people a few days ago in Zurich on a good size path where signs show walkers and cyclists are allowed, and their medium/small dog chased after me, bit and scratched me on the leg which tore through my jeans.

MakeABigWish

I may be wrong, but if the dog were rabid, you have 24 hours after the bite to get your rabies shots... (assuming you weren't vaccinated before). If you were, then I think you have 72 hours.

evop 14.04.2021 17:44

Re: Dog Bite in Zurich / Legal and Rabies Shots Advice ?
 
About the whole situation: it is, although unpleasant, absolutely necessary to ask the dog owner to show the dog to a dog behavioral specialist (at least to a certified dog trainer) and get a professional opinion. It is hard to believe, that any trained dog would behave like that for no reason. Most of the time such reason can be eliminated or treated. That may be a one off, but unless examined and treated professionally, it may become a bigger problem later.

If the dog was unleashed, that shows the owner's irresponsible behavior, so they together with the dog may need additional training course.

About the compensation:
  • all your costs and direct damages must be covered by the dog's owner unconditionally
  • the owner will be additionally punished by all the procedures to treat the dog
  • if you feel, that you have to be substantially compensated for any indirect damages, then proceed with that. My only advise would be, that you first have to justify such claim to yourself, because otherwise your case will be weak.
It is very much your call, if you want to give a chance to this dog and its owner, because in practice in Switzerland this dog will very likely be put down, if you file a formal complaint with the police.

curley 14.04.2021 18:07

Re: Dog Bite in Zurich / Legal and Rabies Shots Advice ?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by makeabigwish (Post 3296379)
I asked for this and I brought my vaccine records showing I my last tetanus jab seven years ago.

Everything online said it would be standard for the doctor to give me a booster and definitely if I had a punctured dog bite and my last jab was over five years old.

This doctor said that was out of date and the latest info says I only need a booster every 20 years.

Anyone heard of this or have any thoughts?

The doctor is right.
In Switzerland there are no separate tetnatus jabs anymore. It is one jab for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.
I should have known that, I've had it 2007 and was also told by my GP I'm covered for 20 years.
Info pdf if you're interested (German)

The only question is now: Is that the same in your country, if not when did you get your last tetanus (valid 10 years)? If you only had the tetanus and more than 10 years ago you should get the "Swiss jab".

It helps to have the yellow international vaccine doc - not only for covid. ;)

Chuff 14.04.2021 18:20

Re: Dog Bite in Zurich / Legal and Rabies Shots Advice ?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by makeabigwish (Post 3296330)
The owner was super concerned and very apologetic, said this was extremely unlike the dog and has never happened before

...seems like many dog owner say this when their dog bites someone and they want to make the dog seem as innocent as possible. I really doubt it was the first incident that dog has been involved with and it's not up to you to decide if this dog is good and safe to other people. You should do your civic duty and report the attack from a dangerous dog to the appropriate authorities before the same happens to someone potentially more vulnerable than yourself.

makeabigwish 14.04.2021 19:23

Re: Dog Bite in Zurich / Legal and Rabies Shots Advice ?
 
Thank you everyone for this discussion.

This has helped me a great deal.

Of course, I will ultimately defer to the expert professionals but it is helpful to hear and think about what others have to say, like you all on EF, while managing this.

Especially big thanks for the super helpful links.

olygirl 14.04.2021 20:12

Re: Dog Bite in Zurich / Legal and Rabies Shots Advice ?
 
Do dogs really only bite once? I find that difficult to believe.

blacky 14.04.2021 22:32

Re: Dog Bite in Zurich / Legal and Rabies Shots Advice ?
 
I'd probably look for lawyer, since you're going after dog owner's insurance, they should cover the costs, but check with lawyer.
Lawyer is the person who can navigate the system properly, and you don't have to do the guesswork or believe random information on the internet.

I sincerely hope that Switzerland isn't that dumb to put down an animal immediately, but instead insist on training/rehoming and so on first.

Susie-Q 15.04.2021 00:00

Re: Dog Bite in Zurich / Legal and Rabies Shots Advice ?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by blacky (Post 3296499)
I'd probably look for lawyer, since you're going after dog owner's insurance, they should cover the costs, but check with lawyer.
Lawyer is the person who can navigate the system properly, and you don't have to do the guesswork or believe random information on the internet.

I sincerely hope that Switzerland isn't that dumb to put down an animal immediately, but instead insist on training/rehoming and so on first.

Why a lawyer for something so small? Lawyers are a fortune in Switzerland.

I am a cyclist and have noticed that dogs do get excited / agitated sometimes as I cycle by. I’ve noticed it in the same way you’ve seen certain dogs chase cars. They aren’t biting to be mean/aggressive, they somehow see you as a threat. I would definitely encourage that the owner gets the dog into behavior classes ASAP as this can be changed. Best wishes!


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