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Rabies Vaccination Schedule for Dogs

Rabies Vaccination Schedule for Dogs

Vaccinating your dog against the potentially fatal rabies disease is the most effective way to protect them from the disease. The rabies vaccination schedule for dogs is discussed in this blog post by our Bellevue veterinarians, along with the reasons why it is essential to have your canine companion vaccinated about the disease.

What is rabies?

Humans and animals alike are susceptible to contracting the viral disease known as rabies. A direct contact with the brain tissue or saliva of an animal that is infected with the virus is the means by which the virus is transmitted. This illness is typically contracted by humans after they have been bitten by an animal that is infected with rabies.

Rabies is a disease, and a very serious disease at that. No tests are currently available that can determine whether or not a human or a living animal has been infected with the virus. Furthermore, once symptoms begin to appear, the disease is extremely likely to be fatal.

There is a mandate in place in the majority of states that all dogs must receive a rabies vaccination. In the event that your canine companion is not up to date on their rabies vaccinations and is bitten by an animal, the state law may mandate that your dog be placed in a strict quarantine for an extended period of time or even be put to death in order to protect other animals and pets.

This makes it very important to keep your dog's vaccinations up to date.

How often does my dog need a rabies shot?

The schedule for administering the rabies vaccine to dogs is governed by the laws of each individual state. First vaccination against rabies is required to be administered to puppies in the majority of states when they are between 14 and 16 weeks old. This vaccination is then followed by a booster shot one year after the initial vaccination has been administered.

Once this has been completed, your dog should receive a rabies booster shot every one to three years, depending on the laws of the state and the type of vaccine that they have already received.

One of the most qualified individuals to provide you with information regarding the frequency of rabies booster vaccinations for your dog is your veterinarian.

Why are rabies boosters mandatory?

In the event that the virus makes its way into your dog's body, vaccinations instruct the body to recognize the disease and to initiate an immune response that will specifically target and eliminate the virus.

With the passage of time, this immune response becomes less powerful and less effective. Rebuilding your dog's immunity through booster vaccines ensures that they will continue to be protected.

Can vaccinated dogs get rabies?

Rabies vaccinations are extremely effective; however, there is no vaccine that can provide complete protection against the disease. Therefore, although the likelihood of a vaccinated dog contracting rabies is extremely low, there is still a chance that it could happen.

By ensuring that your dog's rabies vaccinations are always current and up to date, you are providing the best possible protection for your dog.

What are the side effects of the rabies vaccine for dogs?

After receiving the vaccine, a significant number of dogs will experience temporary discomfort or swelling at the site of the vaccination, as well as a slight fever and a feeling of exhaustion. All of this is perfectly normal, and it will typically disappear after a couple of days have passed. In the event that the adverse effects continue for more than two days or become more severe, you should contact your veterinarian to receive additional guidance on the subsequent actions to take.

From time to time, the injection site may continue to be firm and swollen for a period of several weeks. Should the swelling continue for more than three weeks or become more significant, it is time to take your dog to the veterinarian.

It's very rare for dogs to develop more serious side effects. These will typically occur within minutes to hours after receiving the vaccine and require immediate medical attention. If your dog experiences any of the following, you should bring them to the closest emergency vet right away:

  • Hives
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Severe coughing or difficulty breathing, and even collapse
  • Swelling of the muzzle and around the eyes, neck, or face

Overall, the rabies vaccine is extremely safe and an important factor in protecting the overall health of your canine companion.

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.

Contact our Bellevue vets as soon as possible to schedule an appointment for your dog to receive a rabies booster shot.

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