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Dog Rabies Vaccine Schedule

Rabies is a potentially fatal disease. Protecting your dog and your family is best done with a rabies vaccination. Today, our veterinarians Gilbert tell you more about this important vaccine, including how often your dog should receive a booster shot.

What is rabies? 

Rabies is a viral disease that can affect both humans and animals. The virus is transmitted by direct contact with an infected animal's saliva or brain tissue. In humans, the disease is generally transmitted by the bite of a rabid animal.

Rabies is a serious disease. There is no test to determine whether a person or living animal is infected, and once symptoms appear, the disease is almost always fatal.

Dog vaccination is required by law in most states. If your dog is not up to date with its rabies vaccination and is bitten by an animal, state law may require your pet to be quarantined for an extended period or even euthanized to protect other animals and people.

That's why it's so important to keep your dog's vaccinations up to date.

How often does my dog need a rabies shot?

The rabies vaccination schedule for dogs varies from state to state. In most states, your puppy will receive his first vaccination between 14 and 16 weeks of age, followed by a booster a year later.

Thereafter, your dog will need a rabies booster every 1 to 3 years, depending on state legislation and the type of vaccine used.

Your veterinarian is in the best position to know how often your puppy needs a booster.

Why are rabies boosters required?

Vaccines tell the body how to recognize the disease and build an immune response that will target and destroy the virus if it enters your dog's body.

With time, this immune response weakens and is no longer as effective. Booster vaccines strengthen your dog's immunity so he stays protected.

If you're concerned about the cost of a dog rabies vaccine, contact your vet for a quote and payment options.

Can a vaccinated dog get rabies?

Rabies vaccines are highly effective, but no vaccine can guarantee 100% protection. So, even though the risk of a vaccinated dog contracting rabies is extremely low, it's still possible.

The most effective prevention is to keep your dog's rabies vaccinations up to date throughout its life.

Are there any side effects of the vaccine?

After vaccination, many dogs experience slight discomfort or swelling at the vaccination site and a slight fever and fatigue. These symptoms are completely normal and usually disappear within a day or two. Consult your veterinarian if side effects last longer than two days or worsen.

Sometimes, the injection site may remain firm and swollen for a few weeks. If the swelling persists beyond three weeks or gets bigger, it's time to take your puppy to the vet.

In rare cases, your dog may develop more serious side effects. These usually occur within minutes or hours of vaccine administration and require immediate medical attention. If your dog develops any of the following effects, you should take him to the nearest veterinarian immediately:

  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Hives
  • Swelling of the muzzle and around the face, neck, or eyes
  • Severe coughing, 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.

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

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