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Dog Rabies Vaccine Schedule

Dog Rabies Vaccine Schedule

Rabies is a deadly disease. To ensure the safety of your dog and your family, it is essential to have them receive a rabies vaccination. Today, our Douglasville vets explain more about this important vaccine, including how frequently your dog should get a booster shot.

What is rabies? 

Rabies is a viral illness that can impact both humans and animals. The virus spreads through direct contact with an infected animal's saliva or brain tissue. In humans, rabies is typically transmitted via bites from rabid animals.

Rabies is a serious disease. There are no tests that can be done on a living person or animal to tell if they are infected, and once symptoms appear, the disease is almost always fatal.

In most states, the law mandates dog vaccination against rabies. If your dog lacks up-to-date rabies vaccination and gets bitten by another animal, state regulations may necessitate your pet's quarantine for an extended period or possibly even euthanasia to safeguard other pets 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 required rabies vaccination schedule for dogs varies by state. In most states, your puppy will receive their first vaccination between the ages of 14 and 16 weeks, followed by a booster shot one year later.

Following this, your dog should receive rabies boosters every 1-3 years, as dictated by state regulations and the specific vaccine utilized.

Your veterinarian is your best resource for how often your pup should receive booster vaccinations. 

Why are rabies boosters required?

Vaccinations instruct the body on disease recognition and stimulate an immune reaction against the virus.

In due course, this immune response weakens and becomes less potent. Booster vaccines reinstate your dog's immunity to maintain protection.

If you have cost concerns regarding a dog's rabies vaccination, please get in touch with your veterinarian for a cost estimate and 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 over the course of their life.

Are there any side effects of the vaccine?

After receiving a vaccination, some dogs may exhibit mild discomfort or swelling at the vaccination site, along with a slight fever and fatigue. This is a common occurrence and typically resolves itself within one to two days. Should these side effects extend beyond two days or worsen, it is advisable to seek guidance from your veterinarian.

Occasionally, the injection site can remain firm and swollen for a few weeks. If the swelling persists past three weeks or gets larger, it is time to take your pup to the vet.

In rare cases, dogs may develop severe side effects, typically manifesting within minutes to hours after receiving the vaccine. In such situations, immediate medical attention is necessary. If your dog displays any of the following symptoms, it is important to bring them to the nearest emergency veterinary clinic without delay:

  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Hives
  • 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. If you feel your dog is acting weird after a rabies shot, contact 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.

Is your dog overdue for a rabies shot or booster? Contact our Douglasville vets today to book an appointment. 

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

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