How Much Are Rabies Shots For Dogs

What is rabies


Rabies is a viral disease that affects mammals, including humans. It is typically transmitted through the bite of an infected animal, especially dogs, bats, raccoons, and foxes. Here are the most important things to know about rabies:

  1. Viral Infection: Rabies is caused by the rabies virus, a member of the Lyssavirus genus.

  2. Transmission: The virus is mainly transmitted through the saliva of infected animals, primarily through bites.

  3. Incubation Period: The incubation period can vary, but symptoms usually appear within 1 to 3 months after exposure.

  4. Symptoms: Initial symptoms may include fever, headache, and weakness. As the disease progresses, it can cause anxiety, confusion, hallucinations, and paralysis.

  5. Fatal if Untreated: Rabies is almost always fatal once symptoms appear. Immediate medical attention is crucial if exposed or bitten.

  6. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis: Pre-exposure vaccination is recommended for individuals at high risk of exposure, such as veterinarians and animal handlers.

  7. Post-Exposure Prophylaxis: If bitten or exposed to a potentially rabid animal, immediate post-exposure prophylaxis is essential to prevent the disease.

  8. Prevention: Controlling rabies involves vaccinating domestic animals, wildlife management, and public awareness.

  9. Global Impact: Rabies remains a significant public health concern in many countries, especially in regions where vaccination and animal control measures are lacking.

rabies virus

Who Are the Rabies Carriers and How Do Dogs Get It?


Rabies can be carried and transmitted by various mammals, but some of the primary carriers include dogs, bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes. In different regions, different animals may be more commonly associated with rabies transmission.

Dogs are one of the most significant carriers and transmitters of rabies, particularly in areas where the virus is prevalent. They can contract rabies through exposure to the saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite. In regions where rabies is endemic in wildlife, such as raccoons or foxes, dogs can get infected by encountering and being bitten by these infected animals.

Stray dogs or dogs that roam freely and have access to wildlife are at higher risk of encountering rabid animals. Additionally, unvaccinated dogs are more susceptible to contracting the virus if they come into contact with infected animals.

Once a dog is infected with the rabies virus, it can become a potential transmitter of the disease. Infected dogs can shed the virus in their saliva, and when they bite another animal or human, they can pass on the virus.

Rabies is a deadly disease, and vaccinating dogs and other domestic animals is an essential measure to prevent its spread. Responsible pet ownership, including keeping dogs on a leash and ensuring they receive regular vaccinations, is crucial in controlling rabies and protecting both animal and human populations from this dangerous virus.

a German Shepherd dog bit the owner's hand

How Much Does a Rabies Shot Cost


The cost of a rabies shot can vary depending on various factors, including the country, region, healthcare provider, and whether it is administered to humans or animals. Here are some general cost estimates for rabies shots:

  1. Human Rabies Vaccine:

    • Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP): The cost for a series of pre-exposure rabies vaccinations for humans can range from $100 to $300, depending on the healthcare provider and location.
    • Post-exposure Prophylaxis (PEP): If someone is exposed to a potentially rabid animal and requires post-exposure prophylaxis, the cost of treatment can be more significant, ranging from $3,000 to $7,000 or more, depending on the number of shots required.
  2. Animal Rabies Vaccine:

    • The cost of rabies vaccinations for pets, such as dogs and cats, can vary based on the veterinarian’s fees, location, and the specific vaccine used. Generally, the cost can range from $15 to $50 per shot.

It’s important to note that some countries or regions may offer subsidized or free rabies vaccinations for domestic animals as part of their public health efforts to control the disease.

If you or your pets require rabies vaccination, it’s best to check with local healthcare providers or veterinarians to get accurate and up-to-date information on the cost of rabies shots in your specific area. Additionally, health insurance plans may cover some or all of the costs for human rabies vaccinations, so it’s advisable to check with your insurance provider if you are considering getting vaccinated.

black dog and vaccine, syringe

How to prevent rabies in dogs

Preventive Measures Description
Vaccination Regular rabies vaccinations are essential for dogs. The initial vaccine is often followed by booster shots as recommended by the veterinarian. Keep vaccinations up to date.
Keep Dogs Leashed When outside, keep dogs on a leash to prevent them from coming into contact with potentially rabid animals or straying too far from supervision.
Avoid Wildlife Encounters Limit your dog’s exposure to wildlife, especially in areas where rabies is prevalent. Avoid allowing dogs to roam freely, especially at night.
Secure Trash Bins Secure trash bins and keep the environment clean to reduce the attraction of wildlife and prevent potential encounters between dogs and wild animals that may carry rabies.
Supervise Outdoor Time Supervise your dog during outdoor activities to ensure they don’t interact with wild animals or unknown dogs that might be infected.
Identify Stray Animals Avoid contact with stray or unfamiliar animals, as they may carry rabies. Report stray animals to local animal control or authorities.
Spay/Neuter Dogs Spaying/neutering reduces roaming behavior and minimizes the risk of interactions with potentially rabid animals.
Health Check-ups Regular veterinary check-ups can help detect any signs of illness or potential rabies exposure in dogs early on.
Educate Family Members Educate all family members about rabies prevention, proper animal handling, and what to do in case of potential exposure.
Rabies Quarantine If a dog is bitten by a potentially rabid animal, seek immediate veterinary attention and follow quarantine protocols if required.

It’s important to note that prevention is key, and responsible pet ownership plays a vital role in protecting dogs from rabies. Following these preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of rabies transmission to dogs and help ensure their health and safety.

the dog receives a rabies vaccine at the vet

How to Diagnose and Treat Rabies in Dogs


Diagnosing and treating rabies in dogs require prompt action, as the disease is almost always fatal once clinical signs appear. It’s important to consult a veterinarian immediately if you suspect your dog may have been exposed to rabies or if they exhibit any unusual symptoms. Here’s an overview of the process:

Diagnosis of Rabies in Dogs:

  1. Clinical Signs: The veterinarian will first evaluate the dog’s clinical signs, which may include behavioral changes, aggression, disorientation, paralysis, excessive salivation, and difficulty swallowing.

  2. History of Exposure: The veterinarian will inquire about any potential exposure to wild or potentially rabid animals, such as bites or scratches.

  3. Laboratory Tests: To confirm rabies, a post-mortem examination of the dog’s brain tissue is required. This is the only definitive method of diagnosing rabies in dogs.

Treatment of Rabies in Dogs:

There is no specific treatment for rabies once clinical signs appear. The disease is fatal, and euthanasia is often recommended to prevent further suffering and to reduce the risk of human exposure.

Prevention of Rabies in Dogs:

  1. Vaccination: Regular rabies vaccinations are crucial in preventing rabies in dogs. Vaccinate puppies and dogs as per the recommended schedule provided by your veterinarian.

  2. Avoid Exposure: Prevent dogs from coming into contact with wildlife or stray animals, especially in rabies-endemic areas.

  3. Leash Control: Keep dogs on a leash while outside to prevent roaming and encounters with potentially rabid animals.

  4. Quarantine Protocol: If a vaccinated dog is bitten by a potentially rabid animal, follow the recommended quarantine protocol to monitor for any signs of rabies.

  5. Animal Control: Report any stray or aggressive animals to local animal control authorities to reduce the risk of rabies exposure.

Remember, rabies is a serious disease that poses a threat to both animal and human health. Immediate veterinary attention and responsible pet ownership are crucial in preventing rabies in dogs and ensuring the safety of all.

When to Go to the Veterinarian


Knowing when to go to the veterinarian is essential for maintaining your pet’s health and well-being. While regular check-ups are crucial, certain signs and symptoms require immediate veterinary attention. Here are some situations when you should go to the veterinarian:

  1. Injuries: Any visible injuries, wounds, or trauma, such as bites, cuts, or fractures, should be assessed by a veterinarian promptly.

  2. Difficulty Breathing: Labored breathing, choking, or gasping for breath can be indicative of serious respiratory issues and requires immediate attention.

  3. Vomiting and Diarrhea: If your pet is vomiting or experiencing persistent diarrhea, especially if it contains blood or lasts for more than 24 hours, seek veterinary care.

  4. Loss of Appetite: A sudden loss of appetite or refusal to eat may indicate an underlying health problem and should be evaluated.

  5. Lethargy: If your pet is unusually lethargic, weak, or unable to stand or move, it’s essential to see a veterinarian to determine the cause.

  6. Excessive Thirst or Urination: Frequent urination, straining to urinate, or increased water consumption may indicate kidney issues or urinary tract problems.

  7. Seizures: If your pet experiences seizures, convulsions, or sudden loss of consciousness, seek immediate veterinary attention.

  8. Changes in Behavior: Significant changes in behavior, including aggression, anxiety, confusion, or unusual vocalizations, warrant a visit to the vet.

  9. Allergic Reactions: Swelling, hives, or difficulty breathing after exposure to a potential allergen require urgent veterinary care.

  10. Ingestion of Toxins: If your pet ingests toxic substances, such as plants, chemicals, or human medications, contact your veterinarian immediately.

  11. Eye or Ear Issues: Persistent eye discharge, redness, squinting, or ear discomfort necessitates veterinary evaluation.

  12. Sudden Weight Loss or Gain: Unexplained weight changes may indicate underlying health problems and should be investigated.

the dog lies on the table under anesthesia at the vet

What to Do After Getting Bitten by a Dog


Getting bitten by a dog can be a distressing experience, but it’s essential to take immediate action to protect your health and prevent complications. Here’s what to do after getting bitten by a dog:

  1. Clean the Wound: Wash the wound with soap and water thoroughly. Cleaning helps reduce the risk of infection.

  2. Apply Pressure: If the wound is bleeding, apply gentle pressure with a clean cloth or bandage to stop the bleeding.

  3. Elevate the Area: If possible, elevate the injured area to minimize swelling.

  4. Seek Medical Attention: Regardless of the severity of the bite, it’s crucial to seek medical attention promptly. Even seemingly minor bites can lead to infections or complications.

  5. Report the Incident: If the dog’s owner is present, obtain their contact information. In case of stray or unknown dogs, report the incident to local animal control authorities.

  6. Rabies Risk Assessment: If the dog’s vaccination status is unknown or if the dog exhibits rabies-like symptoms, consult a healthcare professional immediately to assess the risk of rabies exposure.

  7. Documentation: Take photos of the wound and any visible injuries as documentation for potential legal or medical purposes.

  8. Follow Medical Advice: Follow the medical advice given by healthcare professionals, which may include wound care, antibiotics, or tetanus shots, depending on the severity of the bite.

  9. Report the Incident to Animal Control: If the dog’s behavior is concerning or if it poses a threat to public safety, report the incident to local animal control authorities.

  10. Monitor for Signs of Infection: Keep an eye on the wound for signs of infection, such as increased redness, swelling, warmth, pus, or fever. Seek medical attention if any signs of infection develop.

  11. Consider Rabies Vaccination: If there is a risk of rabies exposure or if the dog’s rabies vaccination status is uncertain, healthcare professionals may recommend rabies vaccination as a preventive measure.

How to Tell if an Animal Is Infected


Detecting whether an animal is infected with a disease or not requires careful observation of their behavior, appearance, and any signs of illness. Here are some general indicators to help identify if an animal might be infected:

  1. Unusual Behavior: Look for any sudden changes in the animal’s behavior, such as increased aggression, lethargy, confusion, or disorientation.

  2. Difficulty Moving: If the animal is experiencing difficulty in walking or standing, it could be a sign of illness.

  3. Excessive Salivation: Unusually heavy drooling or excessive salivation may indicate a problem.

  4. Visible Wounds or Sores: Check for any visible wounds, sores, or injuries on the animal’s body, which could be signs of infection or trauma.

  5. Skin Conditions: Look for any skin abnormalities, such as rashes, redness, swelling, or hair loss.

  6. Abnormal Discharge: Examine the animal’s eyes, nose, and ears for any abnormal discharge.

  7. Respiratory Issues: Watch for any difficulty breathing, coughing, or sneezing.

  8. Changes in Eating or Drinking Habits: Notice any significant changes in the animal’s eating or drinking habits.

  9. Weight Loss or Gain: Keep track of any sudden weight loss or gain in the animal.

  10. Changes in Vocalizations: Listen for any changes in the animal’s vocalizations or unusual sounds they might make.

  11. Presence of Parasites: Check for signs of external parasites like fleas, ticks, or lice.

It’s important to remember that some infected animals may not display obvious signs of illness, while others might show more pronounced symptoms. Additionally, some diseases can be contagious to humans or other animals, making it essential to exercise caution when approaching or handling potentially infected animals.

If you suspect an animal is infected or behaving unusually, it’s best to avoid direct contact and contact local animal control or a veterinarian for further assessment. Reporting your observations can help ensure appropriate measures are taken to protect public health and the well-being of the animal.


By staying informed, practicing preventive measures, and seeking prompt medical attention, we can work together to control and ultimately eradicate rabies, making our communities safer for both humans and animals. Remember, rabies prevention is a collective effort, and each one of us plays a vital role in safeguarding our loved ones and pets from this deadly disease. Let’s prioritize health, safety, and responsible pet care to create a world free from rabies.