What is Rabies?
Rabies is a viral disease that can affect both humans and animals. The virus is transmitted via direct contact with the saliva or brain tissue of an infected animal. In people, this disease is usually transmitted through being bitten by a rabid animal.
Rabies is a very dangerous disease. There are no tests that can be done on a living person or animal to tell if they are infected and once symptoms appear the disease is almost always fatal.
Most states require by law that dogs be vaccinated. If your dog is not up to date on their rabies vaccine and gets bitten by an animal state law may require that your pet is strictly quarantined for a lengthy period or even euthanized to keep other pets and people safe.
This is why it's essential to keep your dog's vaccinations up-to-date.
How Often Does My Dog Need to be Vaccinated for Rabies?
Each state has its own laws for the required rabies vaccine schedule for dogs. In most states, the first vaccination is given to your puppy when they are between 14-16 weeks of age and is followed by a booster shot one year after the initial vaccine.
After that, your dog should receive a rabies booster every 1-3 years, depending on state law and the type of vaccine used.
Your veterinarian is your best resource for how often your dog should receive booster vaccinations.
Why Are Rabies Booster Shots Required?
Vaccinations tell the body how to recognize the disease and create an immune response that will target and destroy the virus should it enter your dog's body.
Over time, this immune response isn't as effective. Booster vaccines re-build your dog's immunity to ensure they stay protected.
Can a Vaccinated Dog Get Rabies?
Rabies vaccinations are very effective, but no vaccine can guarantee 100% protection. So while the risk of a vaccinated dog contracting rabies is extremely low, it is still a possibility.
The best prevention is to keep up to date on your dog’s rabies vaccines throughout their life and not allow your dog to play with wild animals.
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.