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Can My Vaccinated Dog Catch Rabies?

Can My Vaccinated Dog Catch Rabies?

Although the chances of a vaccinated dog contracting rabies are quite small, no vaccine guarantees 100% protection in every circumstance. Today, the vets from Nolana Animal Hospital discuss rabies and what to do if you suspect your dog might have been exposed.

What Is Rabies?

Rabies is a serious illness caused by a virus that can be transmitted through saliva from an infected mammal to any other mammal, including wildlife, pets, livestock, and humans. Your pet can get rabies if it is bitten by a rabid animal or if it gets the saliva or brain/spinal tissue of an infected animal (dead or alive) in their eyes, nose, mouth, or an open cut.

The rabies virus affects the central nervous system. In animals, rabies symptoms present as:

  • Behavioral changes (aggression, depression, unprovoked attacks)
  • Loss of appetite or problems 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

Unfortunately, rabies is almost always fatal. Once signs of rabies appear, the infected animal will die, usually within 7-10 days.

How Long Does It Take For Rabies To Develop?

The incubation period refers to the time between exposure to the rabies virus and when symptoms of the disease begin to appear.

In most cases, your pet will begin to show signs of the disease within 2 weeks of exposure, but sometimes symptoms can take multiple months to appear. This is why it's important to get your dog vaccinated and to carefully follow any directions from your local public health unit if you think your pet may have been exposed to this serious disease.

If your pet is infected with rabies it can transmit the virus to other pets and humans up to 10 days before it starts to show any signs of the disease.

Can Dogs Get Rabies After Being Vaccinated?

While the rabies vaccine is quite effective in preventing rabies in dogs, it does not guarantee 100% protection.

If your dog is exposed to rabies and their vaccination is up to date, they will immediately receive a booster vaccine and will need to be placed into strict quarantine for 30 days, after which they must remain restrained by the owner (leashed and kept away from other pets or people) for an additional 60 days.

Quarantine and confinement times vary by state and county. You should always report potential rabies exposures to your vet and local public health unit and carefully follow their directions.

Can You Get Rabies From A Vaccinated Dog?

While it is unlikely to get rabies from a vaccinated dog, there is still a remote possibility. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated canines that bite a person must be quarantined for 10 days. If the dog was infectious at the time of the bite, signs of rabies in the animal will usually follow rather quickly and will certainly manifest within 10 days.

How Can I Prevent Rabies From Developing In My Dog?

The best thing you can do to protect your dog from contracting rabies is to keep their vaccinations current.

You should also never allow your pet to wander unsupervised, especially at night when bats and other potentially rabies-infected wildlife are most active. In McAllen County, bats are the most likely to be rabid. You should bat-proof your home and should never capture, handle, or keep wild bats as pets.

If you or your pet is bitten you should thoroughly and vigourously wash the bite wounds with antibacterial unscented soap and water as soon as possible and contact the appropriate authorities right away.

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.

If your dog is due for their yearly rabies vaccination, don't hesitate to get in touch with our McAllen vets to book an appointment and provide your dog with the essential protection they need.

Now Welcoming New Patients

Looking for a vet in McAllen? Nolana Animal Hospital is now accepting new patients! Our welcoming vets are passionate about pets and will provide your cat or dog with the care they need. Contact us today to schedule your pet's first appointment.

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