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Can a Vaccinated Dog Get Rabies?

It is unlikely for a vaccinated dog to contract rabies, but the vaccination cannot guarantee 100% protection. Our veterinarians at Pittsboro have shared some helpful information on what should be done if you suspect your dog has been exposed to rabies.

What Is Rabies?

This illness is caused by a virus that spreads through the saliva of an infected mammal to any other mammal, including humans, pets, livestock, and wildlife. If an infected animal bites your pet or if its saliva or spinal/brain tissue enters an open wound, mouth, nose, or eyes, it can cause the disease. The virus affects the central nervous system and can cause several symptoms in animals that contract the disease.

What Are The Common Symptoms Of Rabies?

Common signs of rabies include:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Staggering or falling (eventual paralysis)
  • Behavioral changes (unprovoked attacks, aggression, depression)
  • Overreacting to light, touch, or sound
  • Biting or licking the site of the wound where the exposure occurred.

Rabies is a fatal disease that leads to death within 7 to 10 days of the appearance of symptoms in animals.

What Is The Incubation Period For Rabies?

It's important to know that the incubation period for rabies is the time between exposure to the virus and when symptoms of the disease start to appear. If your pet has been exposed to rabies, they may begin showing signs of the disease within two weeks, or it can take several months for them to display symptoms. 

That's why it's crucial to keep your dog's vaccinations up to date and follow any instructions from your local public health unit if you suspect your pet has been exposed. If you're in Pittsboro and your dog is exposed to rabies, they will receive a booster vaccine immediately after exposure. Then, they'll need to be strictly quarantined for 30 days and restrained by the owner (kept on a leash and away from other pets or people) for an additional 60 days.

Keep in mind that the duration of confinement and quarantine times may differ depending on your state and county. If you suspect your pet has been exposed to rabies, it's critical to report it to your veterinarian and local public health unit and carefully follow any instructions you receive.

Can You Get Rabies From A Dog That Has Been Vaccinated?

While it is unlikely to get rabies from a vaccinated dog, there is still a slight risk. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated pets that bite a person must be quarantined for 10 days. If the dog or cat were infectious during the bite, signs of rabies in the animal would usually follow rather quickly and certainly within 10 days.

How Can I Prevent My Dog From Contracting Rabies?

It is essential to keep your dog's vaccinations up to date to protect them from contracting rabies. Additionally, it would be best always to supervise your pet and never allow them to wander unsupervised, especially at night when bats and other wildlife are most active.

In Pittsboro County, bats are the most common carriers of rabies.

It is recommended to bat-proof your home and avoid capturing, handling, or keeping wild bats as pets. If you or your pet is bitten, wash the bite wounds thoroughly with soap and water and contact the appropriate authorities immediately.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet to accurately diagnose your pet's condition.

Is your dog due for its annual rabies vaccination? Contact Pittsboro to book an appointment and protect your dog.

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Pittsboro Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Pittsboro companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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