Rabies Vaccine for Pets 

In order for humans to live long and healthy lives, we need vaccines to help us fight off deadly diseases. The same is true for our furry friends.

There are many vaccines that vets will recommend, including the rabies vaccine. The rabies disease attacks the central nervous system, resulting in symptoms such as delirium, hallucinations, difficulty swallowing (sometimes mistakenly called ‘hydrophobia’), insomnia, body spasms, and unusual behavior. If left untreated, rabies is almost always fatal.

Rabies is transmitted through saliva. Pets catch rabies after being bitten by an infected animal, most often raccoons, foxes, bats, and skunks, as well as unvaccinated cats and dogs. 

How Does the Rabies Vaccine Work?

Like all vaccines, the rabies vaccine works by exposing your pet to antigens, stimulating the immune system. This acts like a “warm-up” for the immune system, so it can build a strong defense against rabies disease.

The next time the immune system encounters the microscopic organisms that cause rabies, it is able to recognize the disease and more effectively fight it off.

A common misconception is that vaccines work by introducing the targeted disease into the body. This is not true; rather, the vaccine contains antigens that “look” like the disease-causing organism. These false antigens do not actually cause disease. 

Your pet may experience some mild symptoms after the vaccine, as the immune system works hard to build the correct antibodies. This might include soreness and lethargy. 

Does My Pet Need a Rabies Vaccine?

Yes, the rabies vaccine is a core vaccine, meaning it is non-optional. Many states require proof of the vaccine to legally own a pet. 

The vaccine not only protects your own pet but also all the animals he interacts with – including humans! This is why other pet places, such as dog parks and boarding facilities, require proof of the vaccine.

If your pet does not have the vaccine, and it is bitten by an unknown animal, the state may even require euthanization. This is for the safety of your household and the community at large. 

When Does My Pet Need the Rabies Vaccine?

The first rabies vaccination is typically given to puppies and kittens before 16 weeks of age. One year later, they will need a second dosage. 

Over time, as the body ages, the effectiveness of the original vaccine can lessen. This is why booster shots are periodically recommended. 

Every state has different laws, and different manufacturers of the vaccine will have different schedules. Your pet will need to be re-vaccinated every year or every three years, depending on the laws in your area and the type of vaccine used. 

Your vet will let you know the legal and recommended schedule for core vaccines. Generally speaking, the rabies vaccine costs between $30 and $50.

Vaccinations for Pets in Frederick, MD

Is your cat or dog due for his vaccines? Bring him to Old Farm Veterinary Hospital

We provide a variety of core and non-core vaccinations to keep your furry friend living healthier for longer. Our team of veterinarians is caring and experienced, working hard to ensure your pet remains calm throughout the process.
We are happy to answer any questions or concerns you might have. Call now to schedule an appointment!