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Rabies shots are one of the vaccines you will need to get your new puppy. These shots can be given to puppies that are 16 weeks of age. You will also need to get a vaccine booster when your puppy is a year old. Additional boosters need to be given every three years after the first two Rabies vaccines.
Why does this vaccine have such a strange schedule? There are several reasons for the Rabies vaccine schedule, but the biggest reason is simply that it is the law.
Rabies is one of the few viruses dogs can give to humans. While you may be thinking that only dogs in rural areas really need these shots, there is a surprising amount of wildlife in cities, including foxes, raccoons and opossums. All of these animals can give your dog Rabies and your dog can then give the virus to you.
If your dog bites someone while protecting your home and does not have a current Rabies vaccination, you may actually lose your dog because the authorities will seize it to test for Rabies and the quickest way to rule out this disease is to look at brain tissue from a deceased animal. The shot is such a simple way to protect your dog and your family.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|