One of the most outstanding traits of your dog is its ability to eat almost anything and roam everywhere without a minimal risk of getting ill. However, specific diseases like rabies might prove harmful and even fatal if not attended to urgently.
Rabies is an illness that affects both humans and their pet dogs, and the latter requires frequent vaccination against the deadly infection. If you follow a strict vaccination schedule for your dog, then the pet cannot get rabies. This article will explain the science behind rabies and the effect its vaccine has on you and your pet.
Can a Dog Get Rabies After Being Vaccinated?
It is almost impossible for your pet to get rabies after being vaccinated. There are a few contraction cases after vaccination that seem to mislead the general population. Still, they can be linked to other reasons like low-quality vaccinations and other related factors. If you follow a strict schedule to keep your pet’s health at its peak, then you do not have to worry about the pet contracting or transmitting the infection.
Quality vaccines boost your pet’s general immunity, and specifically against the rabies-spreading variants. It would help if you allowed adequate time for the vaccine to work before exposing it to threatening elements.
One common source of the infection is contraction from other infected dogs through bites or fluid exchange. Here is everything you need to know about the vaccine’s effect on your pet’s immunity and how it prevents contraction and transmission.
Is My Dog Infected with Rabies?
Dogs that are poorly vaccinated against rabies are at high risk of contracting the fatal infection. Therefore, every pet owner must understand its causes and symptoms to prevent further complications as early as possible.
It takes a single day for the illness to prove fatal to humans and slightly longer for pets. Sudden sensitivity to light and sound is among the common symptoms you need to be looking out for. Here is what to observe to determine if your dog is infected with rabies.
Signs and Symptoms of a Rabid Dog
Restless and Irritable
It is normal for ill animals to appear restless and irritable when sick because of the uncomfortable nature their condition brings to them. In some cases, the irritation leads to aggression which leads to reckless biting of you or other animals within its range. Rabid animals find it difficult to control their emotions, so when you observe your energetic pet suddenly disinterested, there is cause for alarm.
Fever is among the few physical signs you should observe in a rabid dog. After contraction, the virus gets transmitted through the pet’s body via the blood or saliva of the infected host. The fever is a result of the dog’s antibodies trying to fight off the virus. Other physical indications of infection include difficulty in swallowing, staggering, excessive drooling, and paralysis in extreme cases.
Sensitivity to Light and Sound
The more the virus progresses, the more intense its symptoms become. After several hours, your dog may start appearing overstimulated by the standard physical conditions of its environment. Elements like normal lighting, general sound, and movement will suddenly appear to be harming its current emotional and physical state. To avoid these irritations, they may find a quiet and dark hideout or act aggressively every time it’s triggered.
Foaming at The Mouth
Foaming is another well-known symptom that occurs during the last stages of illness. This symptom may not show on all infected animals, though excessive drooling fits a similar nature. Observing it means that the virus is in its final stages, and immediate medical attention is necessary for your pet’s survival.
How Long Does a Dog’s Rabies Vaccine Last?
The question of how long the vaccine will remain effective is a burning question in every pet owner’s mouth. Most of these individuals prefer a holistic approach to prevent rabies; however, they must follow state vaccination regulations.
The rabies vaccine is on either a one-year or three-year schedule. Regardless, preventive medicine is vital for the well-being of every pet, and you should ensure you include the appropriate vaccinations in your care routine.
Vaccination proves to be the only approach to protect your dog from contracting this fatal virus. Every state has specific regulations concerning rabies vaccination for cats, ferrets, and dogs. It would be wise to confirm the required vaccination schedule to ensure you are on the right side of the law and that your pet remains healthy.
Unvaccinated pets are often quarantined, while euthanasia is the ideal approach for those biting non-threatening individuals. Rabies testing is incompatible with live animals since brain matter is necessary for analysis.
How Vaccination Works
The rabies vaccine’s primary role in your pet’s body is to improve immunity against the rabies virus, enabling a healthier and longer life. To understand the functionality of this vaccine, you must have an understanding of an animal’s immune system.
Every animal’s body releases antibodies immediately when a harmful foreign element enters its body to fight off the disease. These antibodies recognize and eliminate the disease strain before it causes severe harm to the host’s body.
However, these antibodies are not effective on all infections. Some diseases like rabies require additional assistance provided by vaccines, which play a significant role in immunity and protection. Vaccinations consist of antigens, small inactive parts of the active virus, that simulate the immune system to act against the progressing disease. A pet vaccinated against a particular condition will have better immunity to protect it against the adverse effects of the illness in question.
Can You Get Rabies from a Dog That Has Been Vaccinated?
Vaccination effectively controls the contraction and transmitting of the rabies virus, but it is not a full-proof approach. There is still a slight possibility of you contracting rabies after getting bit by a vaccinated dog. Immediately a dog bites you; the recommended response is a 10-day quarantine for the dog. The primary objective for the quarantine session is to allow room for direct observation for rabies symptoms.
What to Do After Getting Bit by a Dog
Wash the Wound
The first thing you should do after getting bit by a dog is to clean the wound. Use clean water and soap to clean the bit area of your body and avoid contact with any irritant when washing it. Washing the wound will remove any dirt that may lead to further infections. After cleaning, ensure that you cover it with a clean cloth to provide bacteria interaction with your environment.
Depending on the severity of the wound, carrying out first aid on the bitten section of your body will also prove helpful in preventing further infections. First aid includes applying antibacterial medication and ensuring the wound is in perfect healing condition. However, if your bite is not severe, a simple wash and cover-up are sufficient before seeking professional medical attention.
Seek Dogs Vaccination Records
It would be best to enquire about the dog’s vaccination records as early as possible after the incident. Its records will help determine if the dog was ideally vaccinated or if it is at risk of contracting rabies, a fatal illness. If the dog has not received its full rabies vaccination dosage, then there is a need to consult with your doctor for the best approach.
Seek Medical Attention
Visiting the doctor after a dog bite is necessary, regardless of whether the dog was fully vaccinated or not. Professional health care providers have numerous solutions for such a situation, like an immunoglobin injection to help your antibodies fight off the virus. Note that there is no verified cure for rabies; different medication patterns work for different patients.
How Effective is the Rabies Vaccine in Dogs?
The rabies vaccine in dogs is highly effective in preventing contraction and transmission, though not full proof. Every pet owner should be aware of the duration of the vaccination to take effect; some take five days, others more or even less. You must create and follow a strict vaccination schedule that collaborates with the set state laws and your pet’s well-being.
Each state features a unique set of rabies vaccination policies for pets within their jurisdiction. A 16-year-old puppy is eligible for its first vaccination session in most states, while the second dose is a year after.
After these two doses, you should schedule an annual or three-year vaccination schedule for your dog, depending on the policy within your state. Your vet is the ideal and most appropriate source of information regarding the state rabies vaccination requirements, so do not shy away from asking.
How Long Does The Vaccine Last?
The question of how long the vaccine lasts is solvable from two perspectives; the legal and medical approaches. State law dictates how long the vaccine’s protective features last and are unique to each state, while medicine-wise, it can either be effective for one or three years. Despite this difference in duration, the content in each dose is the same.
Still, on legality, testing is a legal responsibility, and the tests carried out between these two vaccination doses are the only differentiation. You must adhere to the state policies regardless of the validity and effectiveness of your rabies vaccine. Your vet’s responsibility is to ensure you stay on schedule with your dogs’ vaccinations and that they conform with the regulations in place.
Why are Rabies Boosters Essential to Pets?
Rabies boosters are the doses that follow after the initial vaccination doses on your dog. The vaccines’ role is to help the pet’s body identify the virus in question and improve the immune system to kill it before it proves fatal to the host. However, with time it is expected that its effectiveness will decrease. Rabies boosters act as supplements to the vaccine and ensure its effectiveness is reliable enough to keep your dog protected.
What Are the Side Effects of a Rabies Vaccine?
Although the rabies vaccine effectively protects your dog from rabies, it features side effects that you should be aware of. Swelling and mild discomfort are among the immediate side effects you should expect at the vaccination site.
After several hours, you may observe a slight fever, decreased activity level, and appetite, which will fade away after a day or two. If the effects persist for longer than a few days, it would be wise to seek professional input from your vet to guide you on the way forward.
You should expect a firm swelling at the injection site that will also fade away after several days. Other severe but less common side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, swelling around the face and muzzle, difficulty breathing, and hives. The most severe side effects occur almost immediately after receiving the vaccine, and a doctor’s presence is required. Note that the intensity of some of these effects may prove life-threatening, and the vet might assist in controlling them.