Don't pet strange animals Published March 26, 2007 By Capt. Dennis R. Bell Osan Veterinary Clinic OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- A couple of weeks ago, there were two separate dog bite incidents in Songtan. Both were bites from the same animal. Both incidents occurred when people stopped to pet a dog that was tied up outside. It is strongly recommended that no one pet stray dogs or cats. Even if the dog appears to have an owner, we still strongly recommend you avoid petting any animal that you do not know. The ramifications of getting bitten by an unknown animal could be severe. Rabies are endemic in the Republic of Korea. If an animal bites you, and the rabies vaccine status is unknown, a physician will recommend that you receive rabies prophylaxis. This includes an injection around the bite area regardless whether the bite is on the hand or on the face and five rabies vaccinations in the arm. These vaccinations will be spread out over a one month time period. Rabies in humans is almost always a fatal disease unless prophylaxis is given early, so it would be wise to consider any animal bite a serious matter. Most of us are a long way from home, and many of us had to leave our beloved pets back in the United States. The temptation to pet animals off base is sometimes difficult to resist. However, serious consequences could result if your good intentions result in an animal bite.