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Can a Vaccinated Dog Get Rabies?

While you may have already vaccinated your dog against rabies, there remains a slight chance of infection. Our Goleta vets discuss the possibility of your dog contracting rabies even after vaccination.

What is the rabies virus?

Rabies poses a severe and frequently fatal threat, spreading through the saliva, brain, or spinal tissue of an infected animal, whether alive or deceased. Transmission primarily occurs through a bite inflicted by an infected animal.

The rabies virus advances through the nervous system, ultimately reaching the brain, marking a critical juncture where the disease becomes fatal. Recognizable 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 shows signs of the rabies virus, it will typically die approximately 7 to 10 days later. 

How long does it take for symptoms to appear?

On average, animals show symptoms of the rabies virus within two weeks, although there are uncommon cases where symptoms may not appear for a few months. Prioritizing vaccinations and promptly informing your local health unit and vet is crucial.

Follow any instructions provided regarding your animal, as they can transmit the virus up to 10 days before symptoms appear.

Can my dog still contract rabies after being vaccinated?

Unfortunately, the rabies vaccine is not 100% effective but still provides significant protection. Given the commonality of the rabies virus, it's safer for your pet to receive the vaccine rather than live without it.

In Goleta, any dog exposed to the rabies virus and receiving their rabies vaccinations will receive a booster shot immediately. They will undergo a 30-day quarantine, effective immediately, and remain unable to interact with other animals for an additional 60 days after the initial 30-day period.

Quarantine restrictions vary by location, so it's always advisable to contact your local health unit and veterinarian, following their recommendations and instructions.

Can a vaccinated dog transmit rabies?

The likelihood of a vaccinated dog transmitting rabies is low but not impossible. Any dog that bites a person must undergo a 10-day quarantine, irrespective of vaccination status. If the dog or cat was infectious during the bite, symptoms of the virus in the animal will manifest within 10 days.

Rabies Prevention

Ensure the best and easiest form of rabies prevention by keeping your dog's vaccinations current. Another way to ensure your pet's safety is to be mindful and not allow your dog to wander off, especially at night when bats and other wildlife are most active. In Goleta, bats may be rabid, so bat-proof your home and avoid contact with bats at all costs.

If your dog gets bitten, immediately and thoroughly cleanse the wound and 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 its vaccinations, including its rabies booster? Contact our Goleta vets to schedule an appointment for their routine vaccinations.

New Patients Welcome

At Goleta Airport Pet Hospital, we are always accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health and well-being of all Goleta pet companions. Contact us to book your pet's first appointment today!

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(805) 968-4300