Thai Hospital – Bitten By A Dog

If you get bitten by a pet dog in Thailand and are even slightly unsure of the dog’s health, then it is recommended to go to hospital just to be safe – You may still need a tetanus or rabies jab. Most dog owners in Thailand give their pets annual rabies innoculations but unless you know the owner personally, this is a slightly grey area. If you have had a preventary rabies vaccination in the past, you still need to have a rabies jab after being bitten – many vaccinations only delay the effects of rabies, they do not completely protect against it.

dog temple

So many freakin dogs in Thailand

Accident #2 – Dog Bite In Thailand

Recently me and my boyfriend were on holiday in Pai, we were staying at a pretty nice hotel too; it was our treat after slumming it during our travels in Chiangmai. But damn there was this annoying dog that barked incessantly all day and all morning. One day it was yelping and whining outside so Happy went out to investigate it. The barking stopped and he returned to our room 10 minutes later squealing and bouncing around about how cute it was – even though it had apparently spooked him enough at one point to make him nervously scramble up a wall like a little girl.

We figured it was the Thai hotel’s dog. It had a collar and looked in quite good condition, quite young. We later sat outside on the pavillion as the dusk started to peacefully fall and the dog innocently frolicked around the gardens. We were playing around with my camera and when we got bored we headed back to our hotel room, dog following behind entertaining himself in the bushes. Happy was distracted by something in the garden and crouched down to take a photo, the camera strap dangling in front of his body.

dog bite

10 seconds before going schizo

For some reason, this seemed to awaken something in the dog and it excitedly jumped at Happy while becoming increasingly more enthusiastic and bitey until it was simply just gnawing at his legs as he helplessly tried to get away. Happy then passed the camera to me… along with the dogs attention with it. The dog jumped at me and bit at my dress as I edged backwards and dodged it’s advances. By this stage I was getting pretty freaked out and began to use my camera and it’s strap to keep the dog at bay and tangle him up. At one point though, this completely backfired, my £500 camera slipped from my hands, crashed to the floor and as I tried to grab it back, the dog misconstrued this as me merely playing with him.


Action shot!

The dog darted off mischievously, my camera still caught around his neck clunking and scraping along the walkway until he clumsily tumbled over into a flower bed, legs kicking in the air. I quickly snatched my camera back and my boyfriend distracted the dog with a metal pole lying on the grass nearby. When we got back to our room his ankle was bleeding – not a lot but nonetheless the dog bite had broken the skin. We told the Thai woman at reception who apologised and gave us chemicals to clean the wound, but her english was not great. I asked about rabies and she looked at me kind of nervously and said ‘no’, very unconfidently. It almost felt like she was picking an answer to keep me happy without actually understanding my question.

But, I couldn’t help plaguing myself with thoughts and images of my boyfriend dying of rabies in Thailand! I figured it’s always best to be safe and be sure than to regret not doing something so simple like going to the hospital two minutes down the road. So despite his reluctance, I managed to convince him to simply just ask for advice at the hospital. You don’t need to have treatment there, we can just ask their opinion to be sure. Happy was bitten by a pet dog and I wasn’t sure how it works with being bitten by pet dogs in Thailand. He’d also fortunately already been vaccinated so we we weren’t sure how that worked either, whether he’d even need any rabies treatment.

Pai hospital

We arrived at the hospital reception of accident and emergency later that evening, it was eerily quiet and devoid of patients. I approached the receptionist and tried to explain in my best thai that ‘he’d been bitten by a dog. But a pet dog. Is it a problem?’ I can speak much better thai than I can actually understand back, so she replied with a few wordy sentences and I stared blankly at her. She then walked us over to a small ward with about three nurses behind the desk.

I tried my best to explain the situation in Thai as the nurses came and went interchangeably. ‘He’s been bitten by a pet dog. Do we need to do anything?’ There was a lot of Thai discussion amongst themselves and they didn’t really ask much after I said this. Their english didn’t seem to be a great deal better than my Thai either. There was some more chattering between the nurses. Happy started to rummage through his pockets for his vaccination card when one of them silently slinked her way towards his side, trigger happily squirting away on her syringe. We interrupted and tried to point out that he’d actually already been vaccinated before so weren’t sure if he’d maybe require a different shot. The nurse at this point stared blankly at us and turned to her colleague.

There was more confused, misunderstood clacking amongst the nurses in the hospital and more enthusiastic attempts to inject Happy.  They finally appeared to understand and decided to inject him anyway. I guess we were just being a little paranoid and nervous of the language barrier.

This hospital visit cost 590 baht altogether, complete with yet another goodie bag of drugs. Thai hospitals certainly seem to like chucking around antibiotics and painkillers whenever they get the chance. We left the hospital feeling slightly dishevelled – entering on the expectation of a calm, short discussion of whether he actually even needed treatment, and leaving after being pounced on by an overly-eager, needle wielding nurse, seemingly disinterested of any relevant details or medical history.

And after all that, when we finally returned to our hotel later that night, we found the fluent english speaking owner waiting desperately for us. He apologised profusely and informed us that his dog didn’t have rabies afterall as it had indeed been vaccinated…


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