Rabies is a serious disease that is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal. Our Orange vets talk about rabies in dogs, how vaccinations help to protect pets and whether a dog can still contract rabies after they've been vaccinated.
The Rabies Virus and How it Affects Animals
Rabies is a life-threatening virus that affects mammals. This virus can be present in animals whether or not they are alive. The most common method of transmission is through the bite of an infected animal. This is because rabies is spread through the saliva.
This virus spreads through the nervous system of the infected animal until it reaches the brain. Rabies becomes fatal once it reaches the brain.
Some of the symptoms of rabies that will typically appear include:
- Behavioral changes (aggression, depression, unprovoked attacks)
- Loss of appetite or difficulty eating or drinking
- Overreacting to touch, sound or light
- Staggering or falling down with eventual paralysis
- Excessive drooling
- Biting or licking the wound site where the exposure occurred
When do the symptoms of rabies appear?
While the rabies virus commonly presents its symptoms within two weeks, there have been cases of the symptoms not appearing for months. This makes vaccinations all the more important as well as ensuring that to notify your local health unit as well as your vet and follow any instructions that you are provided regarding your animal.
An infected animal can begin to transmit the virus to other animals around 10 days prior to the appearance of symptoms. The animal will typically pass away approximately 7 to 10 days after the symptoms appear.
Can a dog still be infected with rabies after being vaccinated?
While the rabies vaccine is incredibly effective and provides a layer of protection that your pet would otherwise not have, no vaccine is 100% effective. It is safer for your pet to have the vaccine as opposed to living without it as the rabies virus is fairly common.
In Orange any dog that is exposed to the rabies virus and has received their rabies vaccinations will receive a booster shot immediately and will require a 30-day quarantine effective immediately along with being unable to interact with other animals for a further 60 days after the initial 30 day period has passed.
The regulations in your area will need to be followed as these regulations vary between locations. If your vaccinated dog has been in contact with the rabies virus you should reach out to the health unit in Orange.
Can my dog still transmit rabies if they are vaccinated?
If your dog is up to date with their rabies vaccine then it is unlikely that they will be able to transmit the rabies virus. Even so, it is not impossible. Regardless of vaccination status, any dog that has bitten a person must be quarantined for 10 days. If the dog or cat was infectious at the time of the bite, any symptoms of the virus within the animal will appear within 10 days.
Protecting Your Dog by Having Them Vaccinated
The best and easiest form of rabies prevention is to keep their vaccinations up to date.
Keeping your dog on a leash during walks and indoors during the nighttime, when wild animals are more active, will go a long way in protecting them from rabies. In Orange, there is a good chance that bats may be rabid. Be sure to bat-proof your home and avoid contact with bats at all costs.
If your dog has been bitten you should immediately and thoroughly cleanse the wound and contact the appropriate authorities as well as your vet.
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.