What is the rabies virus?
Rabies is a very serious, often fatal virus that's spread through saliva, as well as brain or spinal tissue, of an infected animal that can be alive or dead. This disease is most commonly transmitted via a bite from an infected animal.
The rabies virus spreads through the nervous system to the brain, at which point it becomes fatal. Some common symptoms of rabies include:
- Loss of appetite or difficulty eating or drinking
- Excessive drooling
- Barking differently
- Staggering or falling down with eventual paralysis
- Biting or licking the wound where the exposure happened
- Overreacting to sound, light, or touch
- Behavioral changes such as depression, aggression, unprovoked attacks, or even uncharacteristic affection
Once signs of rabies start to appear, death typically occurs seven to 10 days later.
How long does it take for symptoms to appear?
The typical incubation period for rabies in dogs (the period of time between the point your dog was infected and when symptoms may start to appear) can be anywhere from two weeks to four months.
This is why it's imperative to vaccinate your pet against rabies, in addition to notifying your local health unit and your vet if your pet has been bitten by another animal, and following any instructions that either provide regarding your animal.
Animals can transmit the virus up to 10 days before the onset of symptoms.
Does the rabies vaccine prevent rabies in dogs?
While almost every pet parent wants to be diligent about their pet's health, you may be curious and wonder, 'Can dogs get rabies after they've had their vaccination?'
Unfortunately, the rabies vaccine is not 100% effective. However, this does not mean that the shot does not provide a large amount of protection. The rabies vaccine is so effective that dogs who have been vaccinated rarely become infected even when bitten by a rabid animal.
It's safer for your pet to have the vaccine as opposed to living without it, since the rabies virus is fairly common.
Any dog in Brentwood that's exposed to the rabies virus and has received their rabies vaccinations will receive a booster shot immediately and will need a 30-day quarantine effective immediately along with being unable to interact with other animals for a further 60 days after the initial 30-day period has passed.
Quarantine restrictions vary from location to location therefore it is always best to contact your local health unit and veterinarian and follow their recommendations and instructions.
Can you get rabies from a dog that has been vaccinated?
The odds of a vaccinated dog transmitting rabies to a person are unlikely but are still possible. Regardless of vaccination status, any dog that has bitten a person must be quarantined for 10 days. If the dog or cat was infectious at the time of the bite, any symptoms of the virus within the animal will appear within 10 days.
What is the best way to reduce the risk of my dog getting rabies?
The best and easiest form of rabies prevention is to keep their vaccinations up to date. Maintain your schedule of regular wellness checkups with your vet and notify them about any behavioral or other concerning changes in your pup.
Being mindful and not allowing your dog to wander off is another way you can help to ensure your pet's safety, especially at night when bats and other wildlife are most active. In Brentwood, there is a good chance that bats may be rabid. Be sure to bat-proof your home and avoid contact with bats at all costs.
If your dog has been bitten you should 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.