Rabies in dogs is a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system. The virus enters the body, heads to the spinal column, and then goes straight to the brain for replication and destruction.
Basically, when dogs are vaccinated, there is a core vaccination. And what that means is, there are certain vaccines they get when they’re a puppy. Rabies is usually required by law in a lot of places in North America, and so it’s part of the core vaccination for puppies. Usually, vaccination recommendation is at 16 weeks; you should talk to your veterinarian about their protocol. But that’s fairly standard across the American Veterinary Medical Association as well as the Canadian one. And basically, you give one-year rabies and three-year rabies.
When you give three-year rabies to a puppy, you do have to booster it one year later, and then you go to every three years. There is a one-year rabies vaccine, and the difference between one-year rabies and the three-year rabies vaccine is virtually nothing. They’re pretty much the same. And I know that’s complicated, but it has to do. I think with the legalities of rabies vaccination. And I’ve spoken with some of the companies that manufacture these vaccines. And there might be a little bit of difference in the way they manufacture. But they even say they’re the same vaccine it depends on which company you’re talking to.
So I always recommend a three-year rabies vaccine over a one-year. Your veterinarian may want to do a one-year. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because it’s easy to record it and you know you have to give it every year. You would be giving a one-year vaccine if you’re at much greater risk of your dog getting rabies and that’s pretty uncommon. As I like to say, really only use the one year if your dog is going out and playing with a pack of rabid wolves every day. Aside from that, I would recommend you use the three-year. Because, you’re giving less vaccination you’re putting in less antigen into the dog’s body, less adjuvant, and that’s just healthier.
So I always try to do a minimum but appropriate protective vaccination. Vaccines are really about protecting them against the disease. They may be at risk of getting, so you have to look at their lifestyle, you have to look at where you live, but with rabies, usually it’s enforced by law.
There’s a lot of discussions, concerns, thoughts about vaccination about the positives and negatives. And it’s a very convoluted deep discussion that I can’t go into. But vaccines are often named as reasons for problems happening.
Certainly, a vaccine can cause an animal to be lethargic, just like when we get a vaccination. That’s normal, that’s an expected course of action. It interacts with the immune system and stimulates it, and it’s going to tire them out a bit.
The other thing is, there might be soreness at the injection site. These vaccines are usually under the skin, not in the muscle, so it usually doesn’t cause that much soreness. I didn’t hear that often, but it’s possible. So you could alleviate some of that with medication or just let them take it easy. If it’s from the vaccination, I’m pretty positive about that because it should be just kind of deal with itself, but at the same time, I would go and get a couple of things checked out. I think it’s okay to wait a little bit on this, monitor for another week but if any other clinical symptoms come up, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea anything like that I’d be going to the clinic right away to get some diagnostics done.