Can a vaccinated dog get rabies?

While you may have already vaccinated your dog against rabies, there is still a small chance that they could become infected. Our Edgewater vets talk about rabies and whether your dog can still get rabies after being vaccinated.

What is the rabies virus?

Rabies is a very serious and frequently fatal disease that is transmitted through the saliva as well as the brain or spinal tissue of a living or dead infected animal. The most common mode of transmission is 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 down 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. 

How long does it take for symptoms to appear?

In animals, the onset of rabies symptoms can take up to two weeks on average, although there are rare instances in which the virus does not manifest symptoms for several months. This emphasizes the importance of vaccinations, as well as notifying your local health department and veterinarian, and adhering to any animal-related instructions you receive.

Animals are able to transmit the virus up to 10 days prior to the onset of symptoms. 

Can my dog still contract rabies after being vaccinated?

Unfortunately, the rabies virus 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. 

Any dog exposed to the rabies virus in Edgewater that has received its rabies vaccinations will receive a booster shot immediately and will be required to remain in quarantine for 30 days, effective immediately, and will be unable to interact with other animals for an additional 60 days following the initial quarantine period.

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 a vaccinated dog transmit rabies?

Rabies transmission by a vaccinated dog is improbable but not impossible. Any dog that has bitten a human must spend 10 days in quarantine, regardless of vaccination status. If the dog or cat was infectious at the time of the bite, the virus will manifest in the animal within ten days.

Rabies prevention

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

You can further ensure your dog's safety by preventing it from straying, particularly at night when bats and other wildlife are most active. There is a good chance that bats in Edgewater are infected with rabies. 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.

Is your dog due for their vaccinations including their rabies booster? Contact our Edgewater vets to schedule an appointment for their routine vaccinations.