September 28th is World Rabies Day, so the team at Anasazi Animal Clinic would like to help spread more awareness about this disease. Rabies is highly contagious and is fatal for most animals. The best way to protect your dog from rabies is to get them vaccinated. Continue reading to learn more about how rabies spreads, the symptoms to look for, and the importance of vaccinations. 

How Do Dogs Get Rabies?

Rabies is a deadly, viral disease that is spread through the saliva of infected animals. Unless they are vaccinated, an infected dog or other animals can even transmit rabies to humans. 

Unvaccinated dogs typically get rabies from being bitten by a rabid animal. However, dogs can also be infected if the saliva of an infected animal comes in contact with an open wound or their mouth, nose, or eyes. Dogs can even get rabies from dead animals that had the disease. 

What Are the Symptoms of Rabies in Dogs?

The incubation period for rabies (the time between exposure and when symptoms start to appear) is two weeks or less. Symptoms of rabies include:

  • Behavioral changes such as aggression and depression
  • Loss of appetite or difficulty eating and drinking
  • Sensitivity to light, touch, or sound
  • Excessive drooling
  • Difficulty walking
  • Lethargy
  • Paralysis

Can a Vaccinated Dog Still Get Rabies?

The rabies vaccine is 100% effective against the disease. However, a vaccinated dog could still get rabies if their vaccines aren’t up to date

Puppies should get their first rabies vaccine shot when they are 13 to 15 weeks old, then a booster shot at age one. Your dog may need to get the rabies vaccine again once every one to three years, depending on your local regulations

Although the rabies vaccine is safe for dogs, it’s important to watch for any signs of reaction for the first few days after each vaccination.  

What to Do If Your Dog is Exposed to Rabies?

Knowing what to do after your dog gets exposed to rabies can prevent the disease from spreading to other pets and people in your household. 

Whether your dog is vaccinated or overdue for a booster, they will need to be revaccinated as soon as possible after exposure. You’ll also need to quarantine them and watch for symptoms for 45 days. If they start showing signs of rabies, take them to the vet immediately, so their symptoms can be evaluated.

If an unvaccinated dog gets exposed to rabies, they will need to be quarantined for four months. They will also need to get the rabies vaccine immediately after exposure to the disease. 

Unfortunately, there is no treatment for rabies in dogs. Once a dog starts showing signs of rabies, they will most likely die in about a week. Rabies is almost always fatal, so it’s essential that you protect your pup by getting them vaccinated and keeping their vaccinations up to date. 

Rabies Vaccination for Dogs in Arizona

If your dog is due for their rabies vaccination or any other vaccine, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. At Anasazi Animal Clinic in Gilbert, we provide safe and effective vaccines for dogs and cats. Keeping up with your dog’s vaccinations will give them a long, happy life. If you would like to schedule a vaccine appointment or learn more about the rabies vaccine, call us at 480-497-0505 today. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (9/21/2022). Photo by Justin Aikin on Unsplash