Rabies is a very serious and life-threatening disease that can not only affect dogs but also be transmitted to humans and other pets and animals. Here, our Orange vets share some information about the rabies virus and how following a dog rabies vaccine schedule can help to protect your pup and your family.
Preventable Diseases: Rabies in Dogs
Rabies is a life-threatening virus that can affect humans and animals alike. The rabies virus is spread through direct contact with an infected animal's saliva or brain tissue. This disease is typically transmitted to humans by being bitten by a rabid animal such as a bat.
There are no tests that can be performed on a living person or animal to determine if they are infected, and the disease is almost always fatal once symptoms appear.
This condition is so serious that the vaccination of all dogs and cats is required by law in most states. If your dog isn't up to date on their rabies vaccine and is bitten by an animal, state law may require your pet to be quarantined for an extended period or even euthanized to protect other animals and people.
This is why it's essential to keep your dog's vaccinations current.
How often does my dog need a rabies shot?
The dog rabies vaccine schedule generally depends on the laws from state to state. Most commonly, puppies will receive their first vaccination when they are between 14 and 16 weeks old, followed by a booster shot one year later.
Depending on the type of vaccine that is used your dog will need a rabies booster shot either every year or every three years.
Your veterinarian is your best resource for how often your pup should receive booster vaccinations.
Why are rabies boosters required?
Vaccinations tell the body how to recognize the disease and create an immune response that will target and destroy the virus should it enter your dog's body.
As time goes on, the efficacy of the dog rabies vaccine will decrease. Booster vaccines re-build your dog's immunity to ensure they stay protected. So if your dog is overdue for a rabies shot you should contact your vet right away to schedule a visit.
Can a vaccinated dog get rabies?
While rabies vaccinations are extremely effective, there is no vaccine in the world that offers 100% effectiveness. So while the risk of a vaccinated dog contracting rabies is extremely low, it is still a possibility.
The best method for protecting your canine companion against rabies and other preventable diseases is with annual vaccinations.
Are there any side effects of the vaccine?
If you notice that your dog is acting weird after a rabies shot it is likely entirely normal. Many dogs will experience mild discomfort or swelling at the vaccination site, as well as a slight fever and exhaustion after having their rabies vaccine. This usually passes in a day or two. If the side effects last longer than two days or worsen, you should seek medical advice from your veterinarian.
For a few weeks after the injection, the injection site may be firm and swollen. If it's been three weeks and the swelling is still present or is still getting worse you should contact your veterinarian.
On rare occasions, dogs may suffer from serious complications. These usually happen within minutes to hours of receiving the vaccine and necessitate prompt medical attention. If your dog exhibits any of the following symptoms, you should take them to the nearest emergency veterinarian as soon as possible:
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Swelling of the muzzle and around the face, neck, or eyes
- Severe coughing or difficulty breathing, and even collapse.
Overall, the rabies vaccine is extremely safe and can be a crucial part of the overall care and protection of your dog.
How much is a rabies shot?
The cost of vaccines, including the rabies vaccine, varies from clinic to clinic and can differ depending on the specific needs of your pet and the shots they require. Speak with your vet in Orange to learn more about vaccinations at our animal hospital.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.