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Chances of a Vaccinated Dog Getting Rabies

While you may have already vaccinated your dog against rabies, there is still a small chance that it could become infected. Our vets in North Providence will discuss rabies and whether your dog can still get infected after being vaccinated.

What is the rabies virus?

Rabies is a highly serious and frequently fatal disease transmitted through the saliva, brain, or spinal tissue of an infected animal, whether dead or alive. Most commonly, transmission occurs through a bite from an infected animal. The rabies virus spreads through the nervous system until it reaches the brain, ultimately leading to fatality.

Common signs of rabies include:

  • 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?

The symptoms of the rabies virus can appear in animals, on average, within 2 weeks, although there are rare cases where symptoms may not show for a couple of months. This underscores the importance of vaccinations and the need to notify your local health unit and vet, and to follow any instructions provided regarding your animal. It's also important to note that animals can transmit the virus up to 10 days before showing symptoms.

Can my dog still contract rabies after being vaccinated?

The rabies vaccine is not 100% effective, but it still provides a significant amount of protection. It is safer for your pet to have the vaccine than to live without it, as the rabies virus is fairly common.

In North Providence, any dog exposed to the rabies virus and having received its rabies vaccinations will receive a booster shot immediately. They will also require a 30-day quarantine effective immediately and will be 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, so it is always best to contact your local health unit and veterinarian and follow their recommendations and instructions.

Can a vaccinated dog transmit rabies?

The likelihood of a vaccinated dog transmitting rabies is low but still possible. Regardless of vaccination status, any dog that has bitten a person must be quarantined for 10 days. If the dog or cat was infectious at the time of the bite, any symptoms of the virus within the animal will appear within that 10-day period.

Rabies Prevention

The most effective and easiest way to prevent rabies is to ensure that your dog's vaccinations are up to date. Additionally, it's important to be mindful and prevent your dog from wandering off, especially at night when bats and other wildlife are most active in North Providence, where there is a high likelihood of encountering rabid bats.

It's essential to bat-proof your home and avoid any contact with bats. If your dog gets bitten, it's crucial to immediately and thoroughly clean the wound and then 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 North Providence vets to schedule an appointment for their routine vaccinations.

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

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