World Rabies Day is September 28th! Around 59,000 people per year, usually children in developing countries, die of rabies, as well as an untold number of animals. The World Organization for Animal Health holds free clinics all over the world so people can get their dogs vaccinated. Rabies is almost always fatal in animals but it is preventable. Keeping up on your dog’s vaccinations is so important to keep everyone, dogs included, safe!

Did you know that the rabies vaccine is the only companion animal vaccine that is required by law in most states in the U.S.? Be sure to talk to your veterinarian about how frequently your dog’s rabies vaccine needs to be boostered.

Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system. The rabies virus is secreted in saliva and is most commonly transmitted by a bite from an infected animal. Rabies can be transmitted to all mammals including humans. However, most cases of rabies occur in wild animals such as foxes, skunks, raccoons, coyotes, and bats.

Symptoms of rabies include behavioral changes such as fear, aggression, depression, being overly affectionate, as well as drooling, difficulty swallowing, staggering, paralysis and seizures.   

If you suspect your dog has come into contact with a possibly rabid animal, early examination and intervention is key! Even if your dog is vaccinated, additional steps such as revaccination may be recommended to ensure your dog’s safety.

This reminds us of the importance of routine preventative care and vaccinations. Rabies isn’t the only preventable disease that dogs can contract. Science is chipping away at the most deadly diseases that shorten dog lifespans, and dog owners play an essential role in stopping preventable diseases in their tracks while ensuring long happy lives for their furry family members.

What Other Vaccines Should My Dog Get? 

New puppy owners should mark their calendars with a vaccination schedule. Vets recommend different shots at different stages. They’re often done in a series with carefully timed boosters over the first few months of a dog’s life. 

Puppies typically get a combination vaccine that includes vaccines for parvovirus, canine parainfluenza virus, and canine adenovirus-2. These are called core vaccines, and the diseases they prevent are highly infectious and sometimes deadly. 

Depending on their location, owners might consider adding these non-core shots to their dog’s regimen: 

  • Bordetella bronchiseptica causes kennel cough, a highly contagious cough that can lead to pneumonia. 
  • Dogs who love water are at a higher risk for leptospirosis, which is typically found in areas with rodents and standing water. 
  • Certain places in the world, including the Eastern U.S., have deer ticks that can cause lyme disease. Luckily, there’s a vaccine.
  • If dogs spend a lot of time in doggy daycare, the canine influenza vaccine may be appropriate for them. 

Dogs Can’t Tell You What’s Wrong

Dogs can’t tell you what’s wrong, and they’re also wired to conceal any feelings of pain and discomfort. Unfortunately, many of these preventable illnesses can progress without much warning, which is why it is so important to have routine care.