How to treat a rabid dog bite according to this medical book from 1896


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10 comments, 861 points


How to treat a rabid dog bite according to this medical book from 1896



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10 Comments

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  1. Genuinely wondering if this works like…at all. Like if you totally destroy the wound, cauterize the shit out of everything in and around it. It’s been a long time since my microbiology days, but recently someone said they read an article that said rabies is a generally easy virus to inactivate? Like it has a shitty envelope maybe? Time to pull out old text books and Google I suppose.

    Edit: Ok I did some brushing back up with a text book and some internet.

    Once outside of the host (nervous system/salivary glands), rabies is actually fragile and can be easily destroyed with most detergents, bleach, etc.

    Rabies also travels along nerves, not the blood stream. I found online that when studied in nerve cultures, it moved at a rate of 50-100mm/day. (Source on a forum I found, believe they stated the original source as an article “A Model in Mice for the Pathogenesis and Treatment of Rabies”?). This is also evidenced by the incubation period of rabies; as per the online Merck Manual, it can take as few as 10 days to as long as 50, with some cases taking years before symptoms develop. This is dependent on the location of the bite.

    So we know rabies is fragile and moves slowly. Say the fucking world goes to shit or you’re in some whacko situation where you’d be without a vaccine for some extended period of time. Could cauterization work? I think there might be potential there. Not only would you be potentially killing the virus, but potentially destroying its means of transportation to the CNS; and that’s the point at which it becomes impossible (or nearly impossible) to come back from.

  2. For the chemically inclined “lunar caustic” is an old-timey term for Silver nitrate, (sort’ve like “muriatic acid” is Hydrochloric acid). And it’s still used today as a somewhat brutal form of tissue sterilization.

  3. The guaranteed method is to remove the limb above the wound, distance depending on how long it has been since the bite. If you’re bitten on your thigh or core, well, good luck.