As It Was: Rabbit Blood Saves Woman Bitten by Rabid Coyote

Jan 19, 2018

The Klamath Falls Evening Herald reported 100 years ago how a doctor saved a woman bitten by a rabid coyote by treating her with blood from intentionally rabies-infected rabbits.

Even today, the Mayo Clinic website says that without treatment the disease is usually fatal. The clinic recommends a series of shots, first a fast-acting one of rabies immune globulin near the animal’s bite, followed by four rabies-vaccine shots in the arm within 14 days.

After an Indian woman on the Klamath Reservation received a bite on her hand in 1916 while separating her dog from a coyote attack, the doctor arranged for a number of rabbits to be infected with rabies and their blood to be infused into the woman.

The newspaper reported, “One rabbit was killed each day, in which case, the disease was more advanced than on the preceding day.  In this manner, the … woman's system was fortified until it was able to overcome even the strongest rabies virus.”

The newspaper said nine days after the final rabbit-blood infusion the woman showed no signs of hydrophobia.
 

Source: "RABIES VICTIM HAS RECOVERED." The Evening Herald 20 Jan. 1916 [Klamath Falls, Ore.] : 1. Print; "Rabies Treatments and Drugs." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 20 Jan. 1916. Web. 21 Jan. 2016. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rabies/basics/treatment/con-20019900>.