We often get asked questions about vaccinating pets.  As we celebrate World Rabies Day this month, here are some answers to some of the commonly asked questions about rabies vaccinations.

How often do I need to get my pet vaccinated against rabies?

Dogs: The first rabies vaccination should be given at 14 weeks or older. This vaccination will last for one year at which time the animal will need to be revaccinated. The second vaccination is good for 3 years and the pet will then need to be revaccinated every three years from that point on.

Cats: The first rabies vaccination should be given at 14 weeks or older. The vaccination will last for one year and the pet needs to be revaccinated once a year from that point on.

Are there risks with vaccinating my pet against rabies?

As with any vaccination there is a possibility of a reaction. Most reactions will occur within a few hours of administration and will typically go away after a day or two. Mild reactions include some discomfort or mild swelling at the site of injection, mild fever, and decreased appetite or activity. Rarely, a serious reaction can occur, which may involve difficulty breathing, hives, or facial swelling. If you think your pet is having a reaction to a vaccination it is important to contact your veterinarian or seek emergency care if the reaction is severe.

What is important to remember about rabies?

Rabies is a preventable fatal disease that is transmittable to all warm blooded mammals.  It has a considerable impact on public health as well as veterinary health. Vaccinating against rabies is the only way to help diminish the number of cases annually. Symptoms are debilitating and fatal as there is no cure.  Infected animals must be euthanized for the safety of other animals and humans. Keeping you pet’s vaccinations up to date, including indoor pets, is extremely important and the only way to prevent this deadly disease.

What is a vaccination?

A vaccination is a substance administered thru an injection or an inhalation of a material that promotes the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease.

How does the vaccination work?

A vaccination imitates an infection but does not cause the illness. When the body is then presented with the bacteria or virus that causes the disease, the vaccinated animal can fight the disease because it has developed a resistance to it.

– Meghan, Veterinary Technician