Can a vaccinated dog get rabies?

While you may have already vaccinated your dog against rabies, there remains a slight chance of infection. Our Simi Valley vets discuss the possibility of your dog contracting rabies even after vaccination.

What is the rabies virus?

Rabies is a serious and often fatal disease that spreads through the saliva, brain, or spinal tissue of an infected animal, whether alive or dead. The most common mode of transmission is a bite from an infected animal.

The rabies virus spreads through the nervous system, eventually reaching the brain, where the disease is fatal. Rabies symptoms can be recognized as follows:

  • 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

Once your dog shows signs of the rabies virus, it will typically die approximately 7 to 10 days later. 

How long does it take for symptoms to appear?

On average, animals show symptoms of the rabies virus within two weeks, but in rare cases, symptoms may not appear for several months. Prioritizing vaccinations and promptly notifying your local health unit and veterinarian is critical.

Follow any instructions provided for your animal, as they can spread the virus up to 10 days before symptoms appear.

Can my dog still contract rabies after being vaccinated?

Unfortunately, the rabies vaccine is not 100 percent effective, but it does provide significant protection. Given the commonality of the rabies virus, it is safer for your pet to get the vaccine than to go without it.

In Simi Valley, any dog exposed to the rabies virus and receiving rabies vaccinations will receive a booster shot right away. They will be quarantined for 30 days, beginning immediately, and will be unable to interact with other animals for another 60 days after the initial 30 days.

Quarantine restrictions vary by location, so always consult your local health unit and veterinarian and follow their recommendations and instructions.

Can a vaccinated dog transmit rabies?

The likelihood of a vaccinated dog transmitting rabies is low, but not zero. Any dog that bites someone, regardless of vaccination status, must undergo a 10-day quarantine. If the dog or cat was infected during the bite, symptoms of the virus will appear in the animal within 10 days.

Rabies Prevention

Ensure the best and easiest form of rabies prevention by keeping your dog's vaccinations current. Another way to ensure your pet's safety is to be mindful and not allow your dog to wander off, especially at night when bats and other wildlife are most active. In Simi Valley, bats may be rabid, so bat-proof your home and avoid contact with bats at all costs.

If your dog gets bitten, 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.

Is your dog due for its vaccinations, including its rabies booster? Contact our Simi Valley vets to schedule an appointment for their routine vaccinations.