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Can a vaccinated dog get rabies?

While you may have already vaccinated your dog against rabies, there is still a chance that they could become infected with the virus. Our Windsor 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, and most commonly is transmitted through a bite. 

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
  • Falling down or staggering with eventual paralysis 
  • Excessive drooling
  • Biting or licking the wound site where the exposure occurred

Once your dog begins to show signs of rabies, it will die in about a week. This is why its so important to bring your dog to the vet right away if you think they have contracted the rabies virus. 

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 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 ensuring to notify your local health unit as well as your vet and follow any instructions that you are provided regarding your pet.

Animals are able to transmit the virus up to 10 days prior to the onset of symptoms. 

Can my dog still get rabies after vaccination?

The chances of a vaccinated dog getting rabies is slim, but this does not mean that it can't happen. It is safer for your pet to have the vaccine as opposed to living without it as the rabies virus is fairly common. 

In Windsor 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.

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 you get rabies from a dog that has been vaccinated?

It is rare for a vaccinated dog to transmit rabies, but it's still possible. Regardless of vaccination status, any dog that has bitten a person must be quarantined for 10 days. If the dog was infectious at the time of the bite, any symptoms will appear within 10 days. 

Rabies Prevention

The best way and easiest way to prevent rabies is to keep your dog's 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 wildlife is most active.

If your dog has been bitten by a potentially rabid animal you should immediately and thoroughly cleanse the wound and contact our emergency vets and the appropriate authorities.

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 Windsor vets to schedule an appointment for their routine vaccinations.

Looking for a vet in Windsor? We're accepting new patients!

Contact (860) 688-8400