‘Can a vaccinated dog get rabies?’ is a question many pet parents wonder about.
The good news is that the rabies vaccination is virtually 100% effective. So, once your dog is vaccinated, there is not much cause for concern about your pet getting this deadly virus from a bite of another animal.
It is also assuring to note that rabies is more or less eradicated in the United States. So, you can safely share your home with your cuddly pet and not worry about getting this deadly virus.
Let us discuss rabies vaccination in pets in detail.
What is Rabies? Can a Vaccinated Dog Develop Rabies?
Rabies is a viral infection and one of the most important vaccines you can give your pet. In fact, this vaccine is mandatory in the United States and you won’t be allowed by law not to vaccinate your dog against this disease.
In many states, if an unvaccinated dog happens to bite a person or another dog/pet, then the dog could be impounded and even put down.
Rabies is highly contagious which is why the US government is so strict in its laws about rabies vaccinations.
What Happens in Rabies?
The rabies virus enters the human or canine body through the saliva of an infected animal. This deadly virus then travels through the bloodstream where it adversely impacts the spinal cord and the brain.
A dog infected with rabies can become extremely aggressive and dangerous. It could salivate profusely, and bite or attack a living or inanimate objects for no reason. Sometimes, it could simply become very lethargic and eventually slip into a coma and die. How long it takes for a dog with rabies to die depends on how fast the virus travels through the bloodstream to the central nervous system.
The thing with rabies is that it is often slow to work: death can occur after days, weeks, or even months after infection.
The good news is: once a dog is vaccinated, it usually does not get rabies from an animal bite.
When Should you Vaccinate your Dog for Rabies?
Vets recommend vaccinating a dog at the age of 13 to 15 weeks. You then need to repeat the injection at 15 months and then once in 3 years.
These precautions are more commonly taken in high-risk countries. In the USA, since there are hardly any cases of rabies (since dogs are mandatorily vaccinated) – so there is no need to repeat the doses so often.
But, you must always speak to your vet about how often your dog needs a rabies shot and follow the recommended vaccination schedule.
Can a Vaccinated Dog Bite Cause Rabies?
No. Once a dog is vaccinated for rabies, it cannot cause the disease in other pets or in humans.
However, this is mostly true in the case of developed countries.
In developing nations, rabies is still a huge risk. Therefore, doctors recommend getting the bitten victim (human or pet) treated for a dog bite as a suspected case of rabies – even if the dog that has caused the bite is vaccinated.
Generally, you must keep an eye on the victim (human or animal) for 10 days. If the person/pet remains healthy during this period, then there is no cause for concern.
Can Someone Get Rabies in Other Ways Other Than a Dog Bite?
Other than a dog bite, the deadly rabies organisms can even travel into the bloodstream through cuts, scrapes, and abrasions. Inhaling the virus microorganisms can also be a cause, although all these scenarios are very rare and virtually unheard of in developed nations where rabies is more or less eradicated.
If a Rabid Dog Bites a Healthy Dog and The Healthy Dog Bites a Person, what Should You Do?
Dogs do not develop rabies in a day. However, it is still very important that you seek medical help and get yourself the appropriate treatment if you have been bitten. Follow all precautions as prescribed by your doctor.
Does an Unvaccinated Dog Pose a Risk to Its Owner?
Yes, it is possible that an unvaccinated dog can develop rabies or even be a carrier of the disease if it has interacted with a rabid street dog or been bitten by an animal or bat having the disease.
Therefore, pet owners of unvaccinated dogs are always at a risk. It is a good idea to minimize this threat and get your pets vaccinated as prescribed by your vet.
Final Thoughts – Can a Vaccinated Dog Get Rabies?
Rabies is a serious viral disease that can impact all mammals including humans, cats, dogs, etc. The disease causes severe inflammation of the brain and, once infected, there is NO treatment. It is almost always fatal.
That is why it is important to get your pet vaccinated as soon as your vet recommends it.
The good news is that once your pet is vaccinated, it has almost a 0% chance of developing the disease. In the United States, rabies is more or less eradicated. In high-risk countries like India, the risk is always greater.
Pets that are regularly vaccinated for rabies are generally considered protected. However, it all depends on the country you are in. In rabies-endemic countries, one should treat every bite as a suspected case and not ignore it.