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Rabies vaccination and dogs, cats, other animals

Bob008

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk the Camino
#1
Just wondering if anybody has any thoughts on getting rabies vaccination before walking Camino. I read in the forum that there have been some dog bites/attacks and also cat bites/scratches in Camino. I realize that rabies is rare in Spain, but some risk seems to be there nonetheless. (Rabies is rare in the U.S. and Canada, but if there is a dog bite, the dog must be quarantined for a specified time regardless of the animal's vaccine status to rule out rabies). If bitten by a stray or aggressive dog in Camino, I think that catching the dog and quarantining it will not be possible. Any thoughts?
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#2
Just wondering if anybody has any thoughts on getting rabies vaccination before walking Camino. I read in the forum that there have been some dog bites/attacks and also cat bites/scratches in Camino. I realize that rabies is rare in Spain, but some risk seems to be there nonetheless. (Rabies is rare in the U.S. and Canada, but if there is a dog bite, the dog must be quarantined for a specified time regardless of the animal's vaccine status to rule out rabies). If bitten by a stray or aggressive dog in Camino, I think that catching the dog and quarantining it will not be possible. Any thoughts?
I wouldn't consider it a risk at all.
 

Bob008

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk the Camino
#6
Just browsed the issue in Spain webpages. Apparentley, rabies in domestic animals is considered eradicated since 1966. There were some isolated cases in Malaga, 1975.
From wild beasts, the main risk is being bitten by bats. And unless you plan to sleep in caves or old, derelict buildings...
Well, this is kind of true in the states as well (canine rabies virus was eliminated many years ago), but infected bats or other wild animals can bite dogs or cats, and then they can bite human, thus the protocol of qurantining a dog/cat that bit someone. I might be wrong but I imagine Spain has the similar protocol.
I would not normally consider rabies vaccines at all when traveling to Spain or Europe, but I think that I would be walking through some rural areas where dogs might roam free, which raises concerns about rabies.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#7
Well, this is kind of true in the states as well (canine rabies virus was eliminated many years ago), but infected bats or other wild animals can bite dogs or cats, and then they can bite human, thus the protocol of qurantining a dog/cat that bit someone. I might be wrong but I imagine Spain has the similar protocol.
I would not normally consider rabies vaccines at all when traveling to Spain or Europe, but I think that I would be walking through some rural areas where dogs might roam free, which raises concerns about rabies.
I didn't really see any dogs roaming free.
 

JCLima

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Português (Out/2016)
#8
Well, this is kind of true in the states as well (canine rabies virus was eliminated many years ago), but infected bats or other wild animals can bite dogs or cats, and then they can bite human, thus the protocol of qurantining a dog/cat that bit someone. I might be wrong but I imagine Spain has the similar protocol.
I would not normally consider rabies vaccines at all when traveling to Spain or Europe, but I think that I would be walking through some rural areas where dogs might roam free, which raises concerns about rabies.
If it gives you peace of mind then get the vaccine; but it is not a necessity.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#11
I don't have anything additional to what I would be having at home anyway. But it is a good reminder to get up-to-date with such things as 'flu shots and boosters.

I think the main medical issue (apart from injury) is the close proximity to others in shared accommodation. Which is why I appeal to anyone with a cold or stomach virus to take themselves off to a hotel, if they can possibly afford it.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugese (2018)
#13
Walked Camino Portugues this summer and saw no roaming dogs. All dogs were leashed or behind fences.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#14
In Spain the risk of rabies is low but a friend visiting Africa was required by her tour operator to get preventative rabies shots before going because of a high risk of bats making sneak attacks at night. She found the shots were expensive and inconvenient.

This U.S. government webpage says three shots are needed for prevention and four in case of infection without previous shots. I think that camino walkers should forget about the shots until they are required. With the shots you are likely to survive either way.
 
Camino(s) past & future
This upcoming May 31st through July 1st approximately.
#15
I didn't really see any dogs roaming free.
That’s odd as we saw lots of dogs on the loose but we were always assured that they had a home. Lots of notices saying “Please do not encourage dogs to follow you as they could get lost and they do have homes.” We saw some beautiful dogs.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
#16
I got the rabies shots on the advice of our travel doctor. The risk is very low but the potential for harm from that very low risk is great. The risk is higher in Portugal than Spain. Spain has a very good program. Portugal, less so. The real problem is that the course of shots is 3 shots at $400 per shot. Many, if not most insurance plans, do not pay for this since it is not a strictly speaking a vaccine in that it doesn't protect you positively but does lessen the need for a full treatment if bitten. You need to check with your insurance provider before you get the shots, if you do. And make sure you get it in writing or some policy that you can print out.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#17
As reported at https://ecdc.europa.eu/en/publications-data/rabies-annual-epidemiological-report-2016-2014-data

Very few cases of rabies in humans are reported in the EU, and most EU Member States have not had autochthonous cases for decades. In 2014, three cases of rabies in people who travelled to a non-EU/EEA country endemic for rabies were reported: a 46-year-old woman from Spain bitten by a dog in Morocco, a 57-year-old man from France infected by a canine strain of rabies virus in Mali (Africa), and a 35-year-old Dutch woman bitten by a dog in India.

See also https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prevalence_of_rabies

Save yourself $1,200.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPdP-Burgos, 2015)
Camino Frances (Burgos-Sarria, 2018)
Sarria-Santiago (fall 2018)
#19
A booster for tetanus and a flu shot. Always wise, even if you never leave home. Rabies? I'll save the $1,200 (!) for treatment, should that very unlikely day ever come. ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria to Santiago - May 2014
St. Jean Pied de Port to Pamplona - Starting September 27, 2015
#20
One of my main worries when I first hiked the Camino was loose dogs. A bad experience years ago has made them a huge problem for me. I quickly realized that most of the dogs I saw were apparently very used to passing pilgrims. Most times they did not bother to bark or even get up to check us out!
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#21
One of my main worries when I first hiked the Camino was loose dogs. A bad experience years ago has made them a huge problem for me. I quickly realized that most of the dogs I saw were apparently very used to passing pilgrims. Most times they did not bother to bark or even get up to check us out!
And you know when you have strayed from the Camino path because the dogs don't stop barking. :D
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Inglés 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
#22
Just wondering if anybody has any thoughts on getting rabies vaccination before walking Camino. I read in the forum that there have been some dog bites/attacks and also cat bites/scratches in Camino. I realize that rabies is rare in Spain, but some risk seems to be there nonetheless. ...
Rabies is not rare in Spain, it is extinct. The last reported truly Spanish case of rabies was 1978 (40 years ago!) and the only case since I know of was a dog in 2013 that got rabies whilst in Morocco with its family.

Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/rabies-in-spain-update-14-june-2013

Buen Camino, SY
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#23
With 5 visits to Africa including nearly 4 months as a volunteer teacher in Tanzania I have had just about every vaccination known to "man" and that includes Rabies.
For what its worth I would recommend - updating tetanus and maybe polio (although its just about wiped out thanks to the Gates Foundation). If you have other concerns - lifestyle then think about Hep A & Hep B (although this one is a 3 step process: first one and then 2-4 weeks later the second and the third one is around 6 months later. My other recommendation - talk to your medical pracitioner and follow their recommendations. Cheers
 


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