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Dog Rabies Vaccine Schedule

Protecting your canine companion against serious illness and diseases is a crucial part of their life-long care. Here, our Deer Park veterinarians talk about the importance of vaccines for dogs, what the rabies shot schedule looks like, and what to do if your pup reacts to their rabies vaccinations.

What is rabies in dogs? 

Rabies is a virus that can affect humans and animals alike. The virus is spread through direct contact with an infected animal's saliva or brain tissue. This disease is typically transmitted to humans by being bitten by a rabid animal.

Rabies is a life-threatening disease. There are no tests that can be performed on a living person or animal to determine if they are infected, and the disease is almost always fatal once symptoms appear.

Vaccination of dogs is required by law in most states. If your dog isn't up to date on their rabies vaccine 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.

This is why it's essential to keep your dog's vaccinations current. 

How much is a rabies shot for a dog?

As with many other veterinary care services, the costs will vary from clinic to clinic and from pet to pet. This is because several different factors contribute to the final cost.

This can be the location of the clinic and the expertise of the practitioner as well as the type of equipment used. The age and species of your pet also play a role in the final amount that you will pay.

Please speak with your vet to discuss the estimate of the cost for your pet and a breakdown of the bill.

How often does a dog need a rabies shot?

When your dog needs their rabies vaccine, the schedule will vary by state. In most states, your puppy will receive their first vaccination when they are between 14 and 16 weeks old, followed by a booster shot one year later.

After that, your dog should receive a rabies booster shot every 1-3 years, depending on state law and the type of vaccine used. 

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

Why are rabies boosters required?

Vaccinations tell the body how to recognize the disease and create an immune response that will target and destroy the virus should it enter your dog's body. 

Over time, this immune response wanes and isn't as effective. Booster vaccines re-build your dog's immunity to ensure they stay protected. 

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 throughout their life.

What are the potential side effects of the rabies vaccine?

After the vaccination, many dogs will experience mild discomfort or swelling at the vaccination site, as well as a slight fever and exhaustion. This is perfectly normal and usually passes in a day or two. If the side effects last longer than two days or worsen, you should seek medical advice from your veterinarian.

For a few weeks after the injection, the injection site may be firm and swollen. It's time to take your dog to the vet if the swelling lasts longer than three weeks or gets worse.

Your dog may experience more serious side effects in rare cases. These usually happen within minutes to hours of receiving the vaccine and necessitate prompt medical attention. If your dog is acting weird after their rabies shot or exhibits any of the following symptoms, you should take them to the nearest emergency veterinarian as soon as possible:

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

Overall, rabies shots are extremely safe and an important factor in maintaining your pet's overall health. 

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 their rabies shot? Contact our Deer Park vets today to book a preventive care appointment. 

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