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Can a vaccinated dog get rabies?

While vaccines have been created to help prevent serious illness and reduce complications, they are not 100% effective. Even so, having your pup vaccinated can help ensure the effects of their illness are mild compared to unvaccinated dogs. Our Novato vets talk about the chances of a vaccinated dog getting rabies and what you should know about the vaccine.

What is rabies in dogs?

Rabies is a very serious and often fatal disease that is spread through the saliva as well as the brain or spinal tissue of an infected animal that can be dead or alive. Most commonly this transmission happens through a bite from an infected animal.

The rabies virus spreads through the nervous system until it makes its way to the brain at which point it becomes fatal. Some common signs of rabies are:

  • Behavioral changes (aggression, depression, unprovoked attacks)
  • Loss of appetite or difficulty eating or drinking
  • Overreacting to touch, sound, or light
  • Staggering or falling with eventual paralysis 
  • Excessive drooling
  • Biting or licking the wound site where the exposure occurred

Once your dog begins to show signs of the rabies virus it will typically die approximately 7 to 10 days later. 

What is the timeframe from infection to the onset of symptoms?

On average it can take up to 2 weeks for the symptoms of the rabies virus to appear in animals, although there are uncommon cases where the virus doesn't begin to present symptoms for a couple of 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.

Animals can transmit the virus up to 10 days before the onset of symptoms. 

Can a vaccinated dog get rabies?

Does the rabies vaccine prevent rabies in dogs? Unfortunately, the rabies vaccine is not 100% effective but this does not mean that it does not provide a large amount of protection. It is safer for your pet to have the vaccine as opposed to living without it as the rabies virus is fairly common. 

When answering the question 'Can dogs get rabies after vaccinations?' we have established that the answer is yes, but what happens when exposure occurs? In Novato, 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.

Quarantine restrictions vary from location to location therefore it is always best to contact your local health unit and veterinarian and follow their recommendations and instructions. 

Can you get rabies from a dog that has been vaccinated?

The odds of a vaccinated dog transmitting rabies are unlikely but are still possible. 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. 

Preventive Care for Rabies in Dogs

The best and easiest form of rabies prevention is to keep their vaccinations up to date

Being mindful and not allowing your dog to wander off is another way you can help to ensure your pet's safety, especially at night when bats and other wildlife are most active. In Novato, 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.

Do you need to bring your dog in for routine preventive care including their rabies booster shot? Contact our Novato vets to schedule an appointment.

New Patients Welcome

Bel Marin Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Novato companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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