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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 Port Jefferson vets talk about rabies and whether your dog can still get rabies after being vaccinated.

What is the rabies virus?

Rabies is a deadly disease spread by the saliva as well as the brain or spinal tissue of an infected animal, which might be dead or living. This is most usually transmitted 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 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?

It can take up to two weeks for the rabies virus to cause signs in animals, while there are rare cases where the infection does not cause symptoms for several months. This emphasizes the importance of immunizations, as well as notifying your local health unit and your veterinarian, and following any recommendations given to you regarding your animal.

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 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. 

Any dog exposed to the rabies virus and having received their rabies vaccinations in Port Jefferson will receive a booster shot immediately and will require a 30-day quarantine effective immediately, as well as 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 a vaccinated dog transmit rabies?

Although the chances of a vaccinated dog transmitting rabies are slim, it is nevertheless possible. Any dog that has bitten a person, regardless of vaccination status, must be quarantined for 10 days.If the dog or cat was infectious at the time of the bite, any viral symptoms will develop within 10 days.

Rabies Prevention

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

Another way you can assist to safeguard your pet's safety is to be attentive and not let your dog to wander out, especially at night when bats and other creatures are most active. Rabid bats are possible in Port Jefferson. Make sure to bat-proof your home and avoid all interaction with bats.

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 Port Jefferson vets to schedule an appointment for their routine vaccinations.

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

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