Can My Vaccinated Dog Still Get Rabies?

March 8, 2024by Nicole Tengco0

One of the most feared diseases among pet owners is rabies, a fatal virus that affects the central nervous system of mammals, including dogs. It’s especially scary because it can affect humans, too. You may have had your dog vaccinated against rabies, but there’s often a lingering question – can a vaccinated dog still get rabies? 

Here at PetPal, we care about your pet’s health. So, let’s look into dog rabies vaccinations and see if vaccinated pups can still get this serious disease.

Understanding Rabies

Rabies is a viral disease that spreads through the saliva of an infected animal, often through a bite. The rabies virus travels through the nerves to the brain, causing inflammation and severe symptoms. These include aggression, unusual behavior, paralysis, and, eventually, death.

The Rabies Vaccine: A Quick Overview

Like many viral diseases, rabies can be prevented via vaccinations. The rabies vaccine works by stimulating the dog’s immune system to produce antibodies that can fight off the virus. 

It’s important to note that rabies is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be transmitted from animals to humans. As such, vets consider the rabies vaccine a core vaccine — this means that it’s recommended for all dogs to have it.

Typically, the first vaccine is given to puppies around 12 to 16 weeks of age, followed by booster shots every one to three years. So, it’s best to talk to your vet about your dog’s vaccination schedule.

If you’re looking for a more convenient way to vaccinate your dog, consider scheduling a home vet visit with PetPal. Vaccinating your dog at home can be highly beneficial, especially if you have multiple pets. Not only can you reduce the hassle of commuting and lining up for the vet, but you can also reduce your pup’s exposure to other animals.

So, Can a Vaccinated Dog Get Rabies?

Vaccinations can significantly protect your dog against rabies, but no vaccine is 100% effective. The efficacy of the rabies vaccine is high, but in extremely rare cases, a dog can contract the disease despite vaccination. 

It’s important to underline that such cases are extremely rare. Most cases of rabies occur in unvaccinated animals, and vets still highly recommend that your dog gets vaccinated. 

What Factors Can Impact the Efficacy of the Rabies Vaccine?

Here are some factors that can affect the efficacy of your dog’s rabies vaccine doses:

1. The Timing of the Vaccination

If a rabid animal bites a dog just before or shortly after receiving the rabies vaccine, the dog may not have enough time to develop the necessary immunity and could potentially contract the virus.

2. The Dog’s Immune Response

Dogs’ immune systems can vary drastically per individual. Some dogs may not respond optimally to the vaccine, leaving them less protected.

If you want to help boost your pup’s immune system, consider getting some vet-approved pet health and wellness products from PetPal’s online pet store.

3. Strain Variation

Though rare, there can be variations in the rabies virus strain, against which a vaccine may not offer complete protection.

Protecting Your Dog Against Rabies

The best and most effective way to prevent rabies in dogs is through regular vaccination. Always follow your vet’s recommended vaccination schedule and ensure your dog gets its booster shots on time.

It’s also essential to limit your dog’s exposure to wild animals, who are the most common carriers of the disease. Keep watch of your dog during outdoor activities and keep it leashed to minimize the risk of encounters with potentially infected animals.

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While it’s technically possible for a vaccinated dog to get rabies, the chances are extremely low, especially if you follow your vet’s recommended vaccination schedule. By understanding the nature of the disease and the importance of preventive measures, you can greatly reduce the risk of your beloved pet contracting this deadly virus. Book a home vaccination service now and get your pets protected from Rabies this Rabies Awareness Month. Download the PetPal app from the Play Store or App Store and book a home vet visit — our partner vets are always ready to help shield your dog against rabies.

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