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The Old Bali Blog « Rabies Returns to Ubud in 2015

Rabid dog in Penestanan

Rabies reared its extremely ugly head in Penestanan, South Ubud, on February 26th 2015 when a rabies-positive dog was caught and killed after biting several people and pets in the area.

Five people were reportedly bitten.

Without instant medical intervention, rabies is 100% fatal for humans and animals - and results in a terrible death.

If you know anyone who has been bitten recently near Penestanan, advise them to immediately get a series of post-exposure rabies injections.

Ditto any pets who have come home bloody from a fight: they'll need booster vaccinations right now.

Rabies in Bali: Symptoms of a rabid dog

Could you spot a dog with rabies?

Rabid animals usually stop eating and drinking in the early stages. They'll chew at the bite site, develop a fever and bark weirdly.

Then they'll start to hide in dark corners and become increasingly irritated by light, the wind, water and moving objects.

In the next phase, they'll either become groggy and disorientated - 'dumb', or 'paralytic' rabies - or turn highly vicious and bite anything that moves - 'furious' rabies, or 'Mad Dog Syndrome'.

In the final stages, a dog's jaw will lock open - which is why they foam at the mouth as they can't drink - and paralysis quickly sets in, killing them.

Beware of dogs that appear drunk or unsteady on their feet.

And although the next bit kind of describes most (healthy) dogs on Bali, beware of dogs that constantly growl and bark; that appear restless; that look highly anxious; that run after moving objects such as motorbikes or cars; and - unlike most healthy Bali dogs - who attack ferociously without provocation.

Furious Rabies in Penestanan

Unfortunately, the Penestanan dog - a black-and-white Bali dog with grey markings - developed furious rabies and had a two-day-window to attack anything that moved.

Two customers outside Alchemy had close misses when it ran towards them and bit their shopping bags.

The evening before the rabid dog was caught and killed, a resident living near Juno's spoke of hearing "a massive dog fight, very scary... very different to the usual" - with her two Bali dogs coming back bloodied the next morning.

A third dog in Penestanan was badly mauled.

What to do in case of a dog bite

If you've been bitten or scratched by a suspected rabid cat or dog, immediately scrub the wound with soap and running water for 20 minutes, apply alcohol or Betadine and head straight for Ubud's Toya Medika Clinic.

If you see any suspicious dog behaviour in South Ubud over the next few weeks, please contact BAWA - the Bali Animal Welfare Association - on 081 138 9004 or at - with a full description and location.

And if you want to understand how rabies sank its dank teeth into Bali back in 2008, have a read of Once Bitten, Twice Shy: The Story of Rabies on Bali by Ubud High.

Time to lock your doors for a while.

Related Content: Rabies in Bali

» July 7-11, 2015: Dog-poisonings and widespread dog-culls in Ubud and Sukawati, Bali »

» Once Bitten, Twice Shy: The Story of Rabies on Bali »

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