Rabies Shots for Dogs

Rabies shots for dogs are of incredible importance. Rabies is an infectious disease that poses a threat to humans, as well as other mammals. Learning about the importance of rabies vaccines, as well as vaccination laws in your area, is a major part of responsible pet ownership.

What Is Rabies?

Rabies is a virus transmitted through the saliva of an infected mammal. Any mammal can contract rabies, though bats, foxes and raccoons seem to be the most common threat. Rabies is fatal in most animals. If a dog is bitten by an infected animal, he contracts the virus through the bite.

With a vaccine, there is ample protection to stop the virus from developing. However, a lapse between vaccines or not vaccinating your pet puts your dog at risk for rabies. The symptoms the dog shows depend on the stage of the disease. Symptoms include:

  • Agitation
  • Aggression
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Drooling
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Mild paralysis
  • Nervousness
  • Scratching or biting of area of wound
  • Seizures

To prevent your dog from spreading the disease, rabies shots for dogs are required by law. Humans that may have been infected are given a series of shots to stop the growth of the virus. Animals infected with rabies will be put down. Only in very rare cases has a dog survived rabies. It's not worth the risk of spreading the disease to try quarantining the dog and hoping for the best.

Legal Requirements of Rabies Shots for Dogs

Laws require rabies shots for dogs to be current. Laws vary from state to state, so it's important to check with your town or city clerk to make sure your animal is registered and current vaccination records are on file. In some areas, failure to do so can result in hefty fines.

If you are moving to another state, it's important to make sure your animal's vaccinations meet the area requirements. Some states require rabies shots for dogs six months of age or older, but others want vaccinations in place by the time a puppy is eight weeks of age.

Rabies vaccines for dogs may require yearly, biannual or triennial boosters. Make sure you keep records on when the next booster is needed. The manufacturer dictates how long the rabies vaccine remains effective, so you'll need to have your pet vaccinated on a timely basis to prevent any gaps in protection.

Potential Risks of Rabies Shots for Dogs

IMRAB 3 is a killed-virus rabies vaccine offered by many veterinarians. It's given annually. The most common side effects with this vaccine are fever, lethargy and some pain and swelling at the injection site.

Rabvac offers a few different vaccinations. Rabvac 1 is a yearly rabies vaccine that can cause swelling and pain at the injection site. The biannual (Rabvac 2) and triennial (Rabvac 3) vaccines share this side effect.

A small percentage of vaccinated dogs develop more serious ailments following boosters. In very rare instances, anaphylactic shock may occur. Some dogs develop issues with reverse sneezing. Other pet owners report kidney issues appearing a few months after the vaccination. If you have any concerns following your dog's vaccinations, call your vet.