Rabies Average Cost

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Average Cost


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What are Rabies?

Rabies virus is a single-stranded RNA virus in the family Rhabdoviridea that affects the central nervous system and causes fatal viral polioencephalitis in mammalian animals, including dogs, cats and humans. The virus is transmitted through the exchange of blood or saliva from an infected animal. Rabies causes more than 50,000 human deaths and millions of animal deaths worldwide each year. Rabies is a serious viral disease seen in mammals that adversely affects the central nervous system, leading to death. The majority of reported cases involve wild animals like bats, raccoons and skunks, but does not exclude dogs or cats. Once the symptoms have appeared, Rabies is nearly always fatal. Immediate veterinarian consultation is advised any time a dog comes in contact with possible exposure sources such as a wild animal.

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Symptoms of Rabies in Dogs

Symptoms will begin to appear anywhere from 10 days to eight weeks from the day of exposure to rabies virus. Symptoms of rabies infection include:

  • Anxiousness/irritability
  • Biting/snapping at objects and other animals or humans
  • Chewing/licking at site of infection
  • Fever
  • Hydrophobia
  • Sensitivity to touch, light and sound
  • Hiding/antisocial behavior
  • Eating unusual things (pica)
  • Paralysis of throat and jaw
  • Inability to swallow
  • Excessive salivation
  • Disorientation
  • Staggering
  • Hind limb paralysis
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Seizures
  • Sudden death

After the virus is contracted, it can take up to 8 weeks to reach the brain. At this point, one, two, or all three stages of infection will occur:

  1. Prodromal stage: This stage makes up the first 2-3 days of symptoms. The dog demonstrates anxiety, fear and hiding behaviors and may run a fever. Extreme personality changes can be observed. Aggressive dogs can become docile while friendly dogs become aggressive.
  2. Furious stage– After the prodromal state, the dog can enter the furious stage which can last from 1-7 days. Dogs demonstrate restlessness and irritability and become hypersensitive to light and sound. They begin to wander and will attack inanimate objects, animals and people. Disorientation, seizures and death follow.
  3. Paralytic stage – The paralytic stage can follow the prodromal or furious stage and usually develops 2-4 days after the first symptoms are observed. The jaw and throat become paralyzed, causing inability to swallow and excessive salivation. Labored breathing and choking can occur. Weakness, respiratory failure and death follow.

Causes of Rabies in Dogs

Rabies is contracted through the exchange of blood and/or saliva from a rabies-infected animal who may or may not be exhibiting symptoms. It can also very rarely be contracted from a decomposing animal carcass, though the virus doesn’t survive long in a non-living host. The most frequent cause of infection with rabies is through contact with a wild animal. Pets with highest risk are unvaccinated dogs who have regular contact with wild animals and/or stray dogs and cats.

Any mammal can carry the rabies virus, however the most common exposure to rabies happens through coming in contact with:

  • Bats
  • Rabbits
  • Raccoons
  • Skunks
  • Foxes
  • Coyotes
  • Dogs
  • Cats

Diagnosis of Rabies in Dogs

If you suspect that your pet has come in contact with a wild animal, especially when scratches or bites are involved, place your pet in a kennel and take it to the veterinarian. If you feel your pet is exhibiting symptoms of rabies infection, you will also need to cage your pet and bring it to the vet. If you are uncomfortable with going near your pet or if your pet has escaped, contact local animal control to help you capture and transport your pet.

The only diagnostic method for rabies infection is quarantine (usually 10 days) for observation of symptoms. Official diagnosis is carried out using a direct fluorescence antibody test of brain tissue taken after death. If your pet begins to exhibit signs of rabies during quarantine, your veterinarian will recommend euthanasia.

Treatment of Rabies in Dogs

If you suspect your pet may have come into close contact with a wild animal, even if your pet has been vaccinated, you should take them to the vet immediately. There is no available treatment for rabies infection once symptoms are observed. Infection usually leads to death within 7-10 days after symptoms are first noted. Because rabies presents a threat to public health, laws often required that animals exhibiting symptoms be euthanized.

Vaccinated Pets – Possible Rabies Exposure

If your pet is vaccinated and has been bitten or scratched by a wild animal, the pet will receive a booster vaccine and may be kept under observation for 10 days. If you are visiting a new vet, you will need to obtain proof of updated rabies vaccination. The veterinarian will discuss the necessary steps according to the laws of the local area. If the pet begins to demonstrate symptoms of rabies while in quarantine, euthanasia is recommended (and may be required by law).

Non-vaccinated Pets – Possible Rabies Exposure

If your pet is not vaccinated and has been bitten or scratched by a wild animal, the pet will receive vaccination and be kept under observation for up to 6 months. The veterinarian will discuss the necessary steps according to the laws of the local area.

Recovery of Rabies in Dogs

Rabies vaccination is not only important in preventing disease. Most laws require that unvaccinated pets leave their family and home and enter quarantine for 10 days or more if they bite someone. Some locations require euthanasia for unvaccinated pets who have bitten someone. Your veterinarian can explain your local laws and give you a rabies vaccination schedule for your pet.

Call animal control if you notice a wild animal or stray dog or cat exhibiting symptoms of rabies. Never come into contact with a suspected rabid animal. The risk of your pet contracting rabies virus is lowered significantly by preventing contact with wild or stray animals and supervising your pet anytime they are outdoors.

Rabies Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

2 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

lost of appetite

Hi. My dog was vaccinated for rabies. He was diagnos with e-canis so he's taking doxycyline for more than two weeks now.
Last Saturday, we had some visitors and ouone kid sustained a scratch on his hips from our dog. We took the kid to the animal bite and the doctor confirmed that it was a scratch. He was still given a anti rabies vaccine.
Two days after, my dog doesn't want to eat and he keeps on eating grass. I don't know if it is because of his upset stomach or because of rabies.
He seems active and playful but he doesn't want to eat. What could it be?

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9 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Limping, restless,heavy breathing

My dog vaccination for rabies is current (he was vaccinated 2/2018. A few days ago, he started to limp and have difficulty keeping his balance. He is restless and keeps on circling around the house. This evening, he had heavy breathing and foaming in the mouth for sometime and had stopped. Now he keeps on walking around the house feeling restless. Could he have contracted rabies after his vaccination?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1611 Recommendations
Harvey would not have gotten Rabies from his vaccine, as we used a killed virus for that vaccine. He does sound like he may be having some problems, though, if he is limping and restless and can't keep his balance. It would be a good idea to have him examined by a veterinarian to see what might be going on with him and get any treatment that he might need.

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Tricolored Pitbull
6 Months
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Foaming At The Mouth
Foaming At The Mouth, Fever, and Shaking

My pitbull is about 6 months old and began to have saliva and a bit of foam running down his mouth, he is trembling and his body temperature has risen, he seems very down. What could this be?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
Most people think rabies when they see foaming at the mouth in dogs but the symptoms you have described could be due to other conditions as well including poisoning, dehydration (coupled with increased respiratory rate - saliva is more viscous), dental issues, stress, seizures among other causes. Given the symptoms, it would be advisable to visit your Veterinarian as poisoning and infections can be fatal if not managed appropriately. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM https://wagwalking.com/symptom/why-is-my-dog-foaming-at-the-mouth

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Boston Terrier
2 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms


My dog is.foaming from the mouth and is starting to get blindness in her eye and she can go from laying down to foaming from the mouth

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations


Whilst many people think rabies when a dog is foaming at the mouth, there are other causes including epilepsy, poisoning, brain lesions or accumulation of toxins in the blood. I would strongly recommend visiting your Veterinarian and make note of the length of duration of seizures, eye position etc… which maybe useful in reaching a diagnosis. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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