Is Rabies Vaccine Safe for Dogs?

The rabies vaccine is the third most common vaccine given to pets, and most animals have no problems with it. But every year, an unknown number of dogs die after being vaccinated for rabies. The rabies vaccine can be fatal, but it’s rare.

Rabies Vaccine Killed My Dog

Rabies vaccine killed my dog?

The rabies vaccine is not foolproof and has caused some serious side effects in certain dogs including death. If you notice any changes in your dog’s behavior after receiving his or her rabies booster shot, contact your veterinarian immediately.

The majority of dogs who develop serious side effects after rabies vaccination are those who are vaccinated too early or too often. In addition, puppies with compromised immune systems should not be given rabies vaccines until their immune systems mature enough to handle them safely.

If your dog has an allergic reaction to the rabies vaccine you will see swelling at the injection site and possibly hives on other parts of the body. A severe allergic reaction can also cause facial swelling, difficulty breathing, seizures, and even death.

“My 9-year-old springer spaniel, who has NEVER been sick in his life and is the healthiest dog I have ever seen, was killed by a rabies vaccine. My dog had a reaction to a vaccine at the vet’s office. He was lethargic and had trouble walking and standing. After 2 days of this, we took him to the emergency vet where he died. The emergency vet said he appeared to have suffered a stroke.”

“I wish I had known about vaccine reactions prior to taking my dog in for his rabies vaccine. My dog was a healthy, happy, energetic 9-month-old English Mastiff puppy. Shortly after receiving the vaccine, he began vomiting and had diarrhea. This progressed into seizures and eventually death.”

“A rabies vaccine killed my dog. His name was Cash, and he was a beautiful, gentle, smart, and loving Weimaraner. He was a show dog and the best companion anyone could have asked for. Cash started to show signs of illness two days after being vaccinated with the Nobivac rabies vaccine. This is the same rabies vaccine that killed many other dogs. He got lethargic, was very slow in movement, and wasn’t interested in his food or water. I dismissed it as a normal reaction. After all, he had been sedated at his grooming appointment before the vaccine and I thought he just needed time to recover. However, within a few days, Cash became much worse so I took him to our vet who diagnosed him with pancreatitis and gave him some medication to treat it. His condition didn’t improve at all so I took him back to the vet whereupon X-raying his abdomen they found an infection in his intestines which they treated with antibiotics and painkillers but still his condition didn’t improve. He then started suffering from acute diarrhea which contained blood. By this time Cash was very weak as he had hardly eaten or drunk anything for over a week.”

Can a rabies shot make your dog sick?

The rabies vaccine can cause side effects in some dogs, although these are usually mild and short-lived. The most common side effects are soreness, swelling, and hair loss at the injection site; lethargy; fever; and decreased appetite.

In rare cases, severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) to vaccinations may occur in dogs resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, and facial swelling within minutes of receiving the vaccine. Left untreated, these severe allergic reactions can result in collapse and death.

Can the rabies vaccine cause paralysis in dogs?

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), serious adverse reactions to rabies vaccines are extremely rare. The most common adverse reaction to the vaccine is a soreness, swelling, or hair loss at the injection site.

The AVMA reports that for every million dogs vaccinated against rabies, perhaps one will experience a serious side effect such as an allergic reaction, facial swelling, or lameness. Paralysis is even rarer.

Does my dog really need a rabies shot?

Yes. Rabies is a vaccine that is required by law in most places in the United States and several other countries. Cats and dogs are at risk of contracting this disease from wildlife, such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death.

One reason for the mandatory nature of the rabies vaccine is that it protects not just pets but also humans.

Rabies is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be transmitted between animals and people. If your pet contracts rabies, they can pass the disease on to you and your family.

Even though rabies is rare in pets today, it’s important for pet owners to understand how the disease is transmitted, the importance of vaccinating their pet, and what to do if their pet has been exposed to rabies.

How long do side effects of the rabies vaccine last in dogs?

Side effects of the rabies vaccine are rare and usually mild. Most side effects are limited to some soreness, swelling, or discomfort at the injection site. This can last for one or two days and can be relieved with a painkiller.

Conclusion of rabies vaccine for dogs

Rabies vaccines are very safe, but there is a risk of rabies vaccine associated sarcoma.

In the past 15 years, there have been reports of sarcomas at the injection site after rabies vaccination in dogs and cats. The tumors can be treated if they are caught early enough but if they spread to other parts of the body or become malignant, it can be fatal.

The risk of sarcoma is unknown at this time. The incidence of these tumors is low enough that it’s not clear whether an association with rabies vaccination exists or whether it’s just a coincidence that they occur at the same time as the rabies shot.

The risk of rabies vaccine associated sarcoma increases with more frequent administrations of the rabies vaccine (more than one dose per year).

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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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