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Can a Vaccinated Dog Get Rabies?

While you may have already vaccinated your dog against rabies, there is still a small chance that they could become infected. Our Bedford vets talk about rabies, and whether your dog can still get rabies after being vaccinated.

What is the rabies virus?

Rabies is a very serious and often fatal disease that is spread through the saliva of an infected animal. Most commonly, this transmission happens through a bite from an infected animal. However, it can also spread through brain or spinal tissue of an animal, that animal can be dead or alive. 

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 about a week later.

How long does it take for symptoms to appear?

On average it can take up to two weeks for the symptoms of the rabies virus to appear in a dog, although there are uncommon cases where the virus doesn't begin to present symptoms for a couple of months. Animals are able to transmit the virus up to ten days before the symptoms begin to present themselves. This makes vaccinations all the more important for prevention.

Can my dog still contract rabies after being vaccinated?

Unfortunately, the rabies vaccine 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. 

In Bedford, 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 that, they 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, therefore 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 odds of a vaccinated dog transmitting rabies are unlikely, but it is still possible. Regardless of vaccination status, any dog that has bitten a person must be quarantined for 10 days.

Rabies Prevention

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. In Bedford, there is a good chance that bats may be rabid. Be sure to bat-proof your home and avoid contact with bats at all costs.

If your dog has been bitten, you should 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 their vaccinations including their rabies booster? Contact our Bedford vets to schedule an appointment for their routine vaccinations.

We're accepting new patients! Book your pet's first appointment today.

(914) 666-8061 Contact