The rabies virus is exceptionally dangerous for dogs; fortunately, it is entirely preventable. Our Danbury vets discuss the scheduling and side effects associated with getting your dog vaccinated against rabies.
The Rabies Virus and How it Spreads
Rabies is an infection most commonly found in wild animals like skunks, foxes, and Racoons. The prognosis after catching rabies is not good for unvaccinated cats, for whom the infection is most often fatal.
The virus causes heightened aggression in animals suffering from its effects, and most US states require pets diagnosed with Rabies to be put down due to the ease of the disease spreading through saliva. All mammals are capable of catching rabies through the bite of an infected animal, so it's important to protect your pet with an anti-rabies vaccination.
Dog Rabies Vaccine Schedule
Older vaccines only lasted for a year, and so yearly booster shots were required. Newer vaccines have been developed which require a single booster a year after the first vaccination, followed by boosters every three years after that; these vaccines are considerably more expensive, however, so some veterinarians opt to stick with the older vaccine technology. If you ask your vet "how often should my dog have a rabies vaccine?" they will be able to tell you about what vaccination options they offer and what schedule is best for your dog.
Dogs can begin their rabies vaccination treatment at 14 weeks old. If you haven't already, you can schedule your dog for all their routine vaccinations and other preventative care at Noah's Ark Animal Hospital.
Dog Reaction to Rabies Vaccine
Dog owners often have concerns about the dog rabies vaccine having side effects. They will tell our Danbury vets that they don't want to have to tell their family that their "dog died from rabies vaccine". Fortunately, these fears are unfounded. Side effects are rare and typically include only slight fever, lethargy, decreased appetite, and/or a localized swelling at the vaccine site.
In some excessively rare cases, a dog can have an allergic reaction to the vaccine, leading to hives, extreme weakness, and unexplained collapse. It should be known that fewer than 0.001% of cats will have allergic side effects to modern rabies vaccines. It is always safer to get your dog vaccinated than to test one's luck against potential rabies infection in the future.
Dog Rabies Vaccine Cost
The cost of rabies vaccination varies tremendously between different veterinarians, based in large part on what type of vaccine they use.
Longer-lasting vaccines, as well as vaccines with a smaller number of potential side effects, are much more expensive--the best course of action is to ask your vet about which rabies vaccine(s) they provide, and at what cost. Your veterinarian can help guide you on what vaccination plan is right for your dog's health, as well as your own personal budget.