Rabies in Dogs

Rabies is a serious and fatal disease that can infect all mammals, including our domestic pets. Here, our East Setauket vets discuss rabies in dogs, its symptoms, and the vaccine that prevents it.

What is Rabies? 

Rabies is a viral disease that can harm both humans and animals. The virus spreads through direct contact with the saliva or brain tissue of an infected animal. In humans, rabies is typically transmitted through being bitten by a rabid animal.

Rabies is highly dangerous, and there are no tests available to diagnose the infection in a living person or animal. Once symptoms appear, the disease is almost always fatal.

To ensure public safety, most states have laws mandating dog vaccination against rabies. If your dog is not current on their rabies vaccine and gets bitten by an animal, state regulations may require strict quarantine or even euthanasia to protect other pets and people.

That's why it is crucial to keep your dog's vaccinations up to date.

How Often Does My Dog Need to be Vaccinated for Rabies?

Each state has its own laws for the required rabies vaccine schedule for dogs. In most states, the first vaccination is given to your puppy when they are between 14-16 weeks of age and is followed by a booster shot one year after the initial vaccine. 

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

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

Why Are Rabies Booster Shots Required?

Vaccinations teach the body how to identify a specific disease and trigger an immune response to fight off the virus if it enters your dog's system.

However, over time, the effectiveness of this immune response may decrease. Booster vaccines help reinforce your dog's immunity and ensure continued protection against the disease.

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 and not allow your dog to play with wild animals.

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.

Time to book your pup's rabies vaccine? Contact our East Setauket veterinarians today!