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Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20424
Experience:  BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }
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my dog was, what looks like, scratched deeply on his head by

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my dog was, what looks like, scratched deeply on his head by a gopher. Should I be worried about transmission of rabies? My dog then scratched my neighbor without braking the skin, really leaving no visible mark. Should there be concern, because I am reading that gophers don't carry rabies and then I am reading that they do......I am confused as to what to do? My dog does not have a recent rabies vaccine.

Hello and welcome.

This is not an information request but just a short message to introduce myself.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am an experienced small animal veterinary surgeon, I will be very pleased to work with you today and will try my best to answer your question to your satisfaction.

Please give me fifteen minutes or so to think through your particular problem, prepare an answer, and then type things up. I will then get back to you and we can then talk things over.



Hello again Amy and thanks for waiting.

I have worked out an answer for you, please read it through and see what you think ...

1. Rabies is a very serious disease both as far as humans and animals go so what you should do is to call your local vet as soon as possible for advice as what the law requires you to do in this sort of situation nd then act on it. This varies depending on where you live. [ And this would be my specific advice ]

2. That said I can tell you the following :

A. Rabies spreads from the bite of an animal which has clinical signs of rabies, not scratches. If your dog seemed healthy and was not acting abnormally and only scratched your neighbour with his claws and the skin was not broken then your neighbour would be at very little risk { If any risk } from rabies.

B. The same goes for the gopher, if it did not bite but just scratched your dog there would be very little risk and if the gopher was acting normally and not showing any odd behaviour for gophers then again the risk is small.

3. You can reference this website for additional information on the topic : Rabies in dogs.

And this web site " Small rodents, including mice, rats, gophers, chipmunks and squirrels and rabbits and hares rarely have rabies " : LINK

I hope I have covered your question fully enough but if you would like further clarification or to talk things over a bit more then I will be on-line for the next hour or so and I will be more than pleased to continue working with you.


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Hi Amy,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Jasper. How is everything going?

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