Can a Vaccinated Dog Get Rabies?

The rabies vaccine is a crucial part of preventive care for your pet. While it is incredibly effective against the rabies virus, there is still a chance that your dog could become infected. Here, our Madison vets share some important information about the rabies virus and talk about how a vaccinated dog can still contract rabies.

Rabies & Dogs

The rabies virus is a life-threatening and usually fatal disease that affects mammals. It is most commonly spread through the saliva of an infected animal although it can also be spread through the the brain or spinal tissue of an infected animal that can be dead or alive. Because rabies is easily transmitted through saliva it is most frequently spread through the bite of an infected animal.

Rabies becomes fatal at the point in which it has traveled through the animal's nervous system and reached the brain. 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
  • Staggering or falling down with eventual paralysis 
  • Excessive drooling
  • Biting or licking the wound site where the exposure occurred

The symptoms of rabies typically begin to show after 7 to 10 days, at this point, it will be fatal.

When do the rabies symptoms begin to show?

While this virus typically shows its symptoms within two weeks, it has been known to take up to a few months to appear. This makes vaccinations all the more important as well as ensuring that to notify your local health unit as well as your vet and follow any instructions that you are provided regarding your animal.

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

Can rabies be contracted even after dog vaccinations in Madison?

Like other vaccines, rabies dog vaccinations are not 100% effective. This means that there is a chance that your dog may still contract the virus. However, it is safer for your pet to have the vaccine as opposed to living without it as the rabies virus is fairly common. 

In Madison 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.

If your pet becomes infected you will need to reach out to your local health unit for specific instructions on quarantine as well as the next steps.

Can rabies be transmitted after cat and dog vaccinations?

Just as the vaccine cannot 100% protect your dog from contracting rabies, it is not guaranteed that a vaccinated dog won't be able to spread the rabies virus. Regardless of vaccination status, any dog that has bitten a person must be quarantined for 10 days. If the dog or cat was infectious at the time of the bite, any symptoms of the virus within the animal will appear within 10 days. 

The Prevention of Rabies with Pet Vaccinations in Madison

The best and easiest form of rabies prevention is to keep their vaccinations up to date. Bring your companion in for routine rabies dog shots.

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 bats and other wildlife are most active. In Madison, there is a good chance that bats may be rabid. Be sure to bat-proof your home and avoid contact with bats at all costs.

If your dog has been bitten you should immediately and thoroughly cleanse the wound and contact the appropriate authorities as well as your vet.

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.

Do you need to schedule dog vaccinations or cat vaccinations for your furry friend? Contact our Madison vets to book an appointment.