When it comes to vaccinations, you can’t make assumptions — you need to be sure your puppy has been vaccinated before you bring him out into potentially harmful situations. Since your dog depends on you for everything, it’s up to you to make sure he is ready for the outdoors and everything he might encounter — including rabies.
To protect your dog against the dangerous rabies disease, you should have your pup vaccinated. While it might seem like an inconvenience, it is a necessary one, especially since rabies is mostly preventable if your dog is vaccinated.
What Is Rabies?
Rabies is a dangerous disease that can cause death in both dogs and humans, or any mammals for that matter that have come into contact with an infected source. Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system of mammals and kills around three people and hundreds of dogs and cats each year in the U.S. Worldwide, rabies kills more thousands of humans and millions of animals every year. It has been reported in every state but Hawaii, and in every country in the world, except for Australia and Antarctica.
What Are The Symptoms Of Rabies?
Rabies symptoms include headaches, severe canine anxiety, hallucinations, fear of water, excessive drooling, and progressive paralysis, leading to death in as little as a few days from the start of symptoms. Dogs who have contracted rabies may show extreme behavior changes not long after being infected. Dogs that are normally friendly may become irritable or aggressive. They may randomly attack other animals, humans, or even inanimate objects. A fever in dogs may also be present.
As rabies progresses through the dog’s system, they may become sensitive to touch, light, and sound, and even eat odd things or hide in dark places. Once rabies paralyzes their throat and jaw muscles, you will see the trademark symptom of foaming at the mouth. The disease will eventually cause them to stagger or seem disoriented as their hind legs become paralyzed as well.
Although vaccination can prevent a dog from contracting rabies, once symptoms have set in, there is no treatment available. The only way to prevent the spread of rabies and protect your pet against the disease is to have your dog vaccinated.
How Do Dogs Get Rabies?
Dogs primarily get rabies through being bitten by an infected animal. Animals that have rabies secrete large amounts of the virus in their saliva, which they can transfer to a dog through an open wound caused by a bite or scratch. The most common carriers of rabies in the US are wild animals such as bats, skunks, raccoons, and foxes. To keep your dog safe, try not to expose them to any wild animals.
Rabies is reported more often in cats than dogs in the US, so it is important to also have any felines in the household vaccinated and kept indoors. Dogs who have not been vaccinated and are allowed to roam freely outdoors are most at risk for contracting rabies as they have a higher chance of fighting with infected strays or wild animals.
Can Rabies Be Prevented?
It can! By having your dog vaccinated, you can prevent him from ever getting the disease. It is also the law in many parts of the country, as most states legally require dogs to have received the rabies vaccine. It also helps to avoid contact with wild animals or stray dogs and cats, just to be safe. Make sure to always walk your dog on a leash or supervise them when they are outdoors.
How Much Does The Rabies Vaccine For Dogs Cost?
Now down to the matter at hand — the cost of the rabies vaccine.
Of course, the answer depends, as there are actually two types of rabies vaccines — a one year or three-year vaccine. Dogs receiving their first rabies shot are required to receive the one-year vaccine, while they can get the three-year shot for any subsequent vaccinations.
The three-year rabies vaccination may cost up to twice as much, even though the formula for the one-year and three-year shots are exactly the same. Regardless, choosing the three-year vaccine will be more cost-effective for owners.
According to the American Kennel Club, the average cost of the one-year rabies vaccination is around $15 to $20. A three-year shot will usually run around $35 to $50, depending on the clinic. Some will include rabies in their core vaccinations while others will not.
Animal shelters will often charge less for the rabies vaccination than your veterinarian — some may even be free. Many low-cost clinics also will not charge extra for the three-year vaccine, so it all depends where you go.
Beyond the cost of the vaccine itself, counties may also require you to register your vaccinated dog and purchase a rabies tag from your veterinarian that certifies your dog has been vaccinated. These costs can range from $5 to $75 per year.
Overall, the rabies vaccination is inexpensive, and given the reassurance, it can bring you that your dog will be safe against the scary rabies disease, it isn’t something you want to skip out on. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian or local clinic to have your dog vaccinated as soon as possible.