The rabies vaccine is quite effective at protecting your pet against this deadly virus but is it possible for them to become infected after being vaccinated? Our vets at Marcello Veterinary Hospital share some information about rabies and answer the question of can a vaccinated dog get rabies.
What is the rabies virus?
Rabies is a virus that spreads through the saliva or brain/spinal tissue of either living or dead animals. This virus is serious and causes death in every animal that begins to show symptoms. The transmission of rabies usually occurs through the bite of an infected animal.
The rabies virus spreads through the nervous system until it makes its way to the brain at which point it becomes fatal. Some common signs of rabies are:
- 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.
When will the signs of rabies begin to appear?
On average it can take up to 2 weeks for the symptoms of the rabies virus to appear in animals, although there are uncommon cases where the virus doesn't begin to present symptoms for a couple of months. This makes vaccinations all the more important as well as ensuring that to notify your local health unit as well as your vet and follow any instructions that you are provided regarding your animal.
Animals are able to transmit the virus up to 10 days prior to the onset of symptoms.
What are the chances of a vaccinated dog getting rabies?
Unfortunately, the rabies virus is not 100% effective but this does not mean that it does not provide a large amount of protection. It is safer for your pet to have the vaccine as opposed to living without it as the rabies virus is fairly common.
Any dog that is exposed to the rabies virus and has received their rabies vaccinations will receive a booster shot immediately and will require a 30-day quarantine effective immediately along with being unable to interact with other animals for a further 60 days after the initial 30 day period has passed.
The restrictions related to rabies quarantine will vary between areas so you should always reach out to your local health unit for more information.
Can a vaccinated dog transmit rabies?
The odds of a vaccinated dog transmitting rabies are unlikely but are 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 10 days.
Can you get rabies from a dog that has been vaccinated?
While it is unlikely to get rabies from a vaccinated dog, there is still a slight risk. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated pets that bite a person must be quarantined for 10 days.
The best and easiest form of rabies prevention is to keep their vaccinations up to date.
Being mindful and not allowing your dog to wander off is another way you can help to ensure your pet's safety, especially at night when bats and other wildlife are most active. One of the ways that you can protect your dog and your family is by bat-proofing your home and avoiding all contact with bats that you may see.
If your dog has been bitten by a bat or any other animal you should clean the area immediately and contact your vet and local health authorities immediately.
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.