Rabies Vaccine Killed My Dog

Rabies is a zoonotic disease, meaning it affects both man and animals. In most cases, there is no cure for rabies when it has already shown the symptoms as the infected animal or person succumbs to the illness. Vaccinating a dog against rabies is crucial to his health and is also a requirement in many states. If your dog was given his rabies shot but instead of boosting his immune system he had bad reactions and you ended up losing your dog, it is a very devastating situation. As a dog parent, I understand your pain and am sorry for your loss.

In this article you will understand more about the rabies vaccine, how it works, and its side effects.

Why Your Dog Died After Rabies Vaccine

Although it is rare, below are some of the reasons why your dog died after taking the rabies vaccine;

Adverse reactions to the vaccine

There is a chance of negative reactions with rabies just like with any shot or drug. The rabies vaccine can cause serious allergic responses that might cause breathing problems, edema, and in severe cases, even death.


Accidental rabies vaccination overdoses in dogs can have major health effects and even be fatal. This is particularly true if the overdose is not detected immediately and is not addressed.

Incompatibility with other medications

There is a chance that the rabies vaccine could interact negatively with other medications that a dog is already receiving and result in negative side effects.

Pre-existing health conditions

Certain pre-existing medical conditions in dogs, such as weakened immune systems or organ damage, may increase their risk of dying from the rabies vaccine or suffering serious side effects.

Contaminated vaccines

Although it’s rare, the rabies vaccine may have been contaminated with bacteria or other dangerous material which can cause major health issues and even death in some dogs.

Also read: Bordetella Vaccine Killed My Dog

What Is Rabies Disease

Rabies is caused by viruses in the genus Lyssavirus. Almost all mammals, including domestic animals like dogs, cats, cattle, and horses as well as wild mammalian reservoir populations like raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats where many rabies virus variants are maintained, are susceptible to rabies infection. Rabies causes acute, progressive encephalitis in all affected species.

If a rabid animal bites your pet, or if your pet gets saliva, brain, or spinal tissue from an infected animal — dead or alive — in their eyes, nose, mouth, or an open cut, they could become rabid.

 The rabies virus affects the central nervous system. Some of the most significant signs of rabies in animals include:

  • Behavioral changes.
  • Appetite loss or problems with eating or drinking
  • Reacting excessively to touch, sound, or light
  • Staggering or collapsing, eventually paralyzed
  • Excessive salivation
  • Licking or biting the area of the wound where the exposure took place

Rabies is a fatal disease and animals often pass away 7 to 10 days after showing symptoms.

How the Rabies Vaccine Works

The initial dose of a rabies vaccine, like other killed vaccines, stimulates the immune system so that it can produce antibodies that can fight rabies if the dog is ever exposed to the virus. The slow-acting nature of the rabies virus gives dogs time to establish an immune response and fight the infection before symptoms appear, which can take weeks or months. It is extremely uncommon for dogs who have had the rabies vaccine to get the disease.

The rabies vaccine loses its effectiveness over time as vaccine antibodies wane. This is the reason dogs need to follow up with booster doses.

Following their initial vaccination, dogs typically receive one booster shot every year for the next one to three years to maintain immunity. Most places have laws requiring owners to keep their dog’s rabies vaccination up to date.

Recommended Rabies Vaccine Schedule for Your Dog

The mandatory dog rabies vaccination schedule is governed by state law.

Puppies often receive their first rabies vaccination at 16 weeks of age or earlier in the majority of states. One year after the first rabies vaccination, the second one is administered.

Then, depending on the state law and the vaccine used, your dog will receive vaccinations every year or every three years.

Your veterinarian is your best source of information regarding the rabies vaccination laws in your state.  

How Long Does a Rabies Vaccine Last?

This is both a legal and a medical question. The duration of your dog’s immunization is determined by state law, and laws differ from state to state.

Although the actual components of the vaccine may be the same, some rabies vaccines are labeled as being effective for either one year or three years. Testing by the manufacturer distinguishes the two vaccines, and labeling is a legal matter requiring proof and testing.

Regardless of whether the vaccine is thought to be effective for one year or three, several states mandate that your pet have a rabies vaccination every year. Your veterinarian will be familiar with the laws in your state and assist you in maintaining the right routine.

Rabies Vaccine For Dogs Side Effects

Unless your dog has an immediate reaction while he is still in the clinic, the majority of veterinarians do not identify rabies vaccine damage.

But the truth is that a single vaccine has the potential to not only cause short-term illness but also long-term, serious chronic disease that could drastically alter your dog’s quality of life.

When your dog has numerous vaccinations at once, vaccine responses are more likely to occur, and small dogs are more likely to experience negative side effects because they receive the same amount as large dogs.

I’ve categorized the most common rabies vaccine reactions into three groups.

Acute Problems

After receiving the rabies vaccine, acute reactions might occur immediately or after a few days. Veterinarians are more likely to identify acute reactions as being related to the rabies vaccine than chronic ones.

These reactions can occur with any other shot other than rabies.

  • Vomiting
  • Panting
  • Facial swelling
  • Injection site swelling or lump
  • Lethargy
  • Urticaria (hives)
  • Circulatory shock
  • Injection site pain
  • Pruritus (itching)
  • Injection site alopecia (hair loss)
  • Death
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Diarrhea
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Fever
  • Anaphylaxis  
  • Ataxia  
  • Lameness
  • General signs of pain
  • Hyperactivity
  • Injection site scab or crust
  • Muscle tremor

Chronic Problems

The rabies vaccine can harm your dog’s immune system and neurological system, which can lead to the onset of numerous chronic disorders in dogs. Even the rabies virus itself causes cancer. Aluminum and mercury, two hazardous components found in vaccines, can also contribute to other chronic diseases including cancer. Any vaccine, not just the rabies vaccine, can result in many of the chronic illnesses I’ve listed here.

  • Fibrocarcinomas at the injection site. 
  • Other cancers, such as spindle cell cancers, mast cell cancers, hemangiosarcoma, osteosarcoma, lymphoma
  • Skin issues 
  • Metabolic diseases like diabetes, Cushing’s disease, Addison’s disease, or pancreatitis.
  • Chronic digestive issues such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, colitis, or chronic diarrhea

The Actual Disease

At times, the rabies vaccine can make the body mimic the illness it was meant to prevent. This is known as the rabies miasm. Although rabies vaccination is a common cause of rabies miasm, the disease can also be passed down through families and infect dogs who have not received the vaccine.

Dogs frequently exhibit the symptoms of rabies miasm but few vets and dog owners are unaware of the link between some of these symptoms and rabies vaccination. Your dog chasing flies around the house or water from the hose might be something you find cute or amusing. But it’s not… It’s a typical sign of rabies vaccine damage.

What You Can Do

Don’t give your dog more rabies vaccinations than the dose required by the law. These will depend on the laws in your state.

Find out about the rabies vaccination legislation in your area. The number of states that will accept rabies titers in place of immunization is extremely small. Let’s advocate for titers to replace repeated immunizations in all states and provinces.

Health-related medical exemptions are permitted in some states (no sick dog should EVER receive vaccination). Learn about the medical exemptions offered by your state, then get a letter of exemption from your veterinarian.

Give your dog soil-based probiotics with components that can guard the gut against harm by assisting in the removal of heavy metals and other contaminants found in vaccines.

Use of Rabies Titers

Titer testing gauges an individual’s body’s defenses against a particular infection, in this case, the rabies virus. Titer testing is important for pets whose owners desire it, for those who are going to other states or countries that require it, and for those who can no longer receive the vaccine due to reactions. Titers can also be used to identify animals that might not require booster shots as well as those that might require shots more frequently than every three years. However, most state/municipality laws do not mention replacing boosters with titers. Additionally, the protective rabies titer has not been conclusively established. Using a recognized laboratory or titer testing for a condition like rabies, which has such a significant impact on public health is crucial.

What to Do If You Notice Rabies Vaccine Side Effects

Temporary loss of appetite, minor discomfort, a day or two of fatigue, and a mild temperature are all signs that the vaccination is boosting the immune system as intended. If you see these symptoms, give your dog some time to rest, give them lots of tender care, and keep an eye on them for a few days. Call your veterinarian and ask for advice if you ever have any concerns that your dog might be in discomfort. To relieve your dog’s discomfort, they could prescribe painkillers.

Rabies Vaccine Alternatives

Consult your veterinarian if your dog reacts poorly to the rabies vaccine. Your veterinarian is your greatest source for information on whether or not your dog can skip vaccines because state rules vary widely. A titer test, which assesses the number of antibodies in the blood, is an alternative that a veterinarian may perform. This can assist in determining whether there are sufficient antibodies present to defend the body against the disease.

Consult your veterinarian about the risks of vaccination vs the risks of infection if your dog has already experienced negative reactions to vaccinations. Your veterinarian may be able to reduce adverse side effects if your dog is susceptible to the vaccine by giving antihistamines or other drugs before inoculation and watching your dog for warning signs afterward.


How can I prevent my dog from contracting rabies?

Maintaining your dog’s immunization schedule is the best way to prevent them from contracting rabies.

Additionally, you should never let your pet roam alone, particularly at night when bats and other wildlife are most active. The majority of rabid bats are found in South Plainfield. It is advisable to bat-proof your home and to avoid handling, capturing, or keeping wild bats as pets.

If you or your pet is bitten, wash the bite wounds vigorously with soap and water as soon as you can. Then, call the proper authorities immediately.  

Are Certain Dog Breeds More Susceptible to Rabies?

All dog breeds are susceptible to rabies. There is no proof, according to science, that some breeds are more prone to the illness. Exposure to infected animals is the main factor that defines a dog’s chance of contracting rabies, hence vaccination and responsible pet ownership are crucial for all breeds.

Can Pregnant or Nursing Dogs Receive the Rabies Vaccine?

The rabies vaccine is typically safe for dogs that are expecting or nursing. However, before vaccinating your pregnant or nursing dog, consult your veterinarian. They can advise you on the best course of action based on your dog’s general health and any potential risks.

Can the Rabies Vaccine Be Administered with Other Vaccines?

It is possible to administer the rabies vaccine along with other shots as part of your dog’s regular vaccination plan. To choose the most effective immunization schedule, however, it’s crucial to discuss your dog’s specific requirements and general health with your veterinarian.


It is unfortunate that your dog died after receiving a rabies shot. However, rabies vaccination remains one of the best methods for preventing rabies in people and dogs. In the future, vaccine strategies may change as a result of research that is now being done to assess the longevity of immunity via challenge studies. Despite worries about unfavorable vaccine reactions and over-vaccination, the widespread use of antibody titers to direct revaccination strategies is currently constrained by data. For dogs entering rabies-free areas, antibody levels can be used to show prior rabies vaccination and may be helpful if revaccination is contraindicated.

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