Dad filtered through the tall stack of mail sitting on the counter and passed me a postcard with Daisy’s name on it. “Looks like we need to schedule Daisy for a wellness visit” he observed aloud. “She’s due for her rabies vaccine”. We had recently heard an unsettling story about an aggressive dog biting our neighbor’s dog while they were at the dog park, so we promptly called the vet and scheduled Daisy’s appointment.
This type of freak accident can happen to any dog, even if their family does their best to keep them away from unknown dogs. To protect Daisy from rabies and avoid the need for a quarantine if she was ever bitten (or bit someone else), she needed to remain up to date on her rabies vaccine. This vaccine shows Daisy’s immune system a killed piece of the virus so her body knows how to respond if she is ever exposed.
Rabies is spread through the saliva of an infected dog, cat, or wild mammal. The virus causes significant behavioral changes, disorientation, seizures, and paralysis. Because rabies is always fatal and can be rapidly spread to humans and other animals, public safety requires infected animals to be euthanized. Vaccination is also required by law because the disease is an incredibly dangerous human health risk. While rabies can be transmitted to humans from their pets through a bite, thankfully the high number of vaccinated pets in the United States prevents a high number of human cases.
Rabies vaccination prevents extreme suffering and death, but some families are hesitant to vaccinate due to the fear of possible vaccine reaction. But unlike rabies, a vaccine reaction can be treated with medication and hospitalization if necessary. Even though Daisy often feels a bit crummy and tired the day after receiving her rabies vaccine, vaccination is absolutely essential to protect her and our human family members from rabies.
Rabies can be rapidly spread to humans and other animals through the saliva of an infected animal. Because rabies is a serious public safety risk, vaccination is required by law. Any unvaccinated pet who needs veterinary treatment is required to be vaccinated. Unvaccinated pets who bite someone are legally required to be quarantined for public safety.
The severity of vaccine reaction can vary depending on the animal. Talk to your veterinarian about treatment for vaccine reactions if your pet has a history of reaction. Vaccine reactions are treatable, rabies is not.