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Dog Rabies Vaccine Schedule

Vaccinating your dog is the most effective way to shield them from the lethal rabies disease. In this blog post, our veterinarians in Natick delve into the rabies vaccination schedule for dogs and emphasize the critical importance of vaccinating your canine companion.

What is rabies?

Rabies, a viral disease, can affect both humans and animals. The virus spreads directly with the infected animal's brain tissue or saliva. Typically, humans contract this illness when bitten by a rabid animal.

Rabies is a grave disease, and no tests are available to detect infection in living animals or humans. Once symptoms begin to manifest, the disease is generally fatal.

In most states, the law mandates rabies vaccination for all dogs. Failure to keep your dog up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations may result in strict quarantine requirements or even euthanasia, per state law, to safeguard other pets and animals.

Therefore, maintaining your dog's vaccination status is of utmost importance.

How often does my dog need a rabies shot?

Every state enforces its own laws governing the rabies vaccine schedule for dogs. In most states, puppies must receive their initial rabies vaccination at 14-16 weeks of age, followed by a booster shot one year later.

Subsequently, your dog must undergo a rabies booster shot every 1-3 years, depending on your state's regulations and the specific vaccine they received.

Consult your veterinarian for precise guidance on the frequency of rabies booster vaccinations your dog should receive.

Why are rabies boosters mandatory?

Vaccinations tell the body how to recognize the disease and create an immune response that will target and destroy the virus if it enters 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 vaccinated dogs get rabies?

Rabies vaccinations are highly effective. However, no vaccine is able to offer 100% protection. So, while the risk of a vaccinated dog contracting rabies is extremely low, it is still possible.

The best protection is to make sure your dog's rabies vaccinations are always current and up to date.

What are the side effects of the rabies vaccine for dogs?

Many dogs may experience mild discomfort, swelling at the vaccination site, a slight fever, and tiredness after receiving the vaccine. These are typical reactions that usually resolve within a couple of days. If these side effects persist beyond two days or worsen, promptly contact your veterinarian for further guidance.

Sometimes, the injection site may remain firm and swollen for several weeks. Should the swelling endure the past three weeks or increase in size, scheduling a vet visit for your pup is crucial.

While it is exceedingly rare for dogs to develop more severe side effects, such reactions typically manifest within minutes to hours after vaccine administration and demand immediate medical attention. If your dog exhibits any of the following symptoms, rush them to the nearest emergency vet without delay:

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

Overall, the rabies vaccine is extremely safe and important in protecting your canine companion'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.

Contact our Natick vets today to schedule an appointment for your dog's rabies booster shot.

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

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