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Dog owners want the best for their beloved four-legged friends. This undoubtedly includes protecting them from dangerous diseases. However, there is uncertainty when it comes to vaccinating dogs or puppies against rabies. On the one hand, the risk of infection in Europe and America is minimal. On the other hand, rabies infection is always fatal for our best friend when traveling to other countries. Information about a possible vaccination requirement, side effects, costs, and much more can be found here.

Rabies vaccination: compulsory or voluntary?

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In Germany, rabies vaccination for dogs is not compulsory.

According to the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Germany has been rabies-free since 2008. However, there is a rabies regulation. This prescribes the euthanasia of those dogs that have come into contact with an animal infected with rabies and that can be proven not to have been vaccinated against rabies. It is crucial to adhere to the manufacturer’s specified vaccination intervals.

Entry into another EU country

Important for dog owners who go on vacation with their furry friend: If an owner takes their four-legged friend with them when traveling within the European Union, a valid rabies vaccination is mandatory. Proof in the national (yellow) vaccination certificate is not sufficient. Entry is only legal with proof in the (blue) EU pet passport.

Reasons for rabies vaccination in dogs

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A vaccination against rabies is urgently recommended, along with other dangerous pathogens such as distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis contagiosa canis, and leptospirosis. Germany has been exempt from rabies since 2008, but the disease can come back. Dogs that are illegally transported to Germany from other countries can bring deadly pathogens into the country.

There is no treatment for rabies. At the request of the official veterinarian, if there is any suspicion, the beloved four-legged friend will be put to sleep. The fatal viral disease can also be transmitted to humans.

Another aspect suggests that dogs should be vaccinated against rabies: The negligible risk of contracting rabies in Germany is due to the fact that many dog owners perceive the vaccination. If the trend were to subside in the future, there would be an increased probability of deaths from rabies.

When should dogs and puppies be vaccinated against rabies?

Dog owners should discuss the individual vaccination scheme with their veterinarian. But there are recommendations. According to the guideline of the Vet Standing Vaccination Commission, vaccination of small animals is recommended at the intervals of the basic vaccination. According to the guideline, puppies at the age of 12 weeks, among other things. to get vaccinated against rabies.

Vaccination intervals

Later, when the young dog is 15 months old, re-immunization is recommended, depending on the active ingredient in the vaccine.

It is possible to have a puppy a second vaccination at 16 weeks of age. However, this is not advisable as it is only required in exceptional cases.

Rabies vaccination in dogs: side effects

Vaccination is not all about benefits. Unfortunately, side effects occur in rare cases. Therefore, the veterinarian must thoroughly check the four-legged friend’s general state of health before the vaccination. Only a perfectly healthy dog that does not have a fever or worms can get a vaccination.

As a rule, larger dogs show fewer adverse reactions after vaccination than their smaller conspecifics. In addition, a rabies vaccination is always administered with a combination vaccination. This protects against multiple viral diseases with a syringe but can harm some dogs more than a single vaccination. After each vaccination, there is always a general residual risk that the dog will have symptoms. These can look like this:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue and listlessness
  • Fever
  • Itching at the vaccination site
  • Drowsiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomit

Many of the mild symptoms, such as tiredness, will quickly go away and are a common body response to vaccination.

Only in very rare cases does the dog tend to have skin reactions, for example, nettle rash. This is where wheal formations occur – mainly on the dog’s head. In exceptional cases, the dog may have breathing problems after vaccination.

If the dog shows more severe symptoms, for example, nettle rash, a veterinarian should be consulted immediately. It should also not be concealed that some dogs experience shock in extremely rare cases, which can sometimes lead to death.

Rabies vaccination costs

There is no fixed price for rabies vaccination in dogs. The costs depend on the active ingredient and the veterinarian. However, there is a fee schedule for veterinarians (GOT for short) to which they are bound.

  • Combined vaccination: around $75 – $170;
  • Single rabies vaccination: around $40.

Conclusion: rabies vaccination in dogs

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The rabies vaccination is still part of the basic immunization. However, vaccination has a generally negative reputation. Dog owners should keep the advantages and disadvantages in mind and act responsibly. In the vast majority of cases, healthy dogs tolerate the rabies vaccination well. In contrast, infection with the virus always means the loss of the beloved four-legged friend.

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