Rabies is a serious and often fatal disease when contracted by any mammal, including our beloved pets. This is why prevention is the key defense against the rabies virus. Here, our Babcock Ranch veterinarians share the best rabies vaccine schedule for your dog and why it is important to follow it.
What is rabies?
Rabies is a highly dangerous viral disease that can infect any mammal, including domestic animals, wildlife, and humans. The virus is transmitted through contact with an infected animal's saliva or brain tissue.
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for rabies, and there are no tests that can be conducted on a living animal or person to determine if they have contracted the virus. Once symptoms appear, the disease is almost always fatal.
In many states, dogs are required by law to receive the rabies vaccine. If your dog hasn't been vaccinated and is bitten by an infected animal, your pet may be quarantined for an extended period or even put down to protect other animals and people. It's important to keep your pet up to date on their vaccinations to avoid this situation.
For these reasons, it is vital to keep your dog's vaccinations up to date.
How often does my dog need a rabies shot?
The schedule for mandatory rabies vaccination for dogs varies depending on which state you reside in.
In the majority of states, your puppy will receive their first vaccination between the ages of 14 and 16 weeks, followed by a booster shot one year later.
Subsequently, your dog should receive a rabies booster every 1 to 3 years. Your veterinarian is the most reliable source to determine how often your pup should receive these booster vaccinations.
Why are rabies boosters required?
To protect your dog from diseases, vaccinations instruct the body to recognize and fight the viruses.
As time passes, the immune response becomes weaker and less effective.
Booster vaccines help to re-establish the immunity of your dog, ensuring their protection.
If you're concerned about the price of rabies shot for your dog, it's best to contact your veterinarian for an estimate and information on payment options.
Can a vaccinated dog get rabies?
Rabies vaccinations are very effective, but no vaccine can guarantee 100% protection. So while the risk of a vaccinated dog contracting rabies is extremely low, it is still a possibility.
The best prevention is to keep up to date on your dog's rabies vaccines throughout their life.
Are there any side effects of the vaccine?
Dogs may feel tender and tired after getting a rabies vaccine, and they may also experience grogginess. These side effects are normal and usually disappear within a few days. If the symptoms persist beyond two days or become worse, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian.
Sometimes, the injection site can remain swollen and firm for several weeks, and if this happens, it is essential to take your dog to the vet if the swelling lasts more than three weeks or grows larger.
Side effects are not common, but if you notice any of the following symptoms in your dog after their vaccine, contact your vet right away:
- 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 an important factor in maintaining your pet's overall health. Contact your vet if you feel your dog is acting weird after a rabies shot.
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.