Most states require that your dog stays current on his rabies vaccination. That usually means an initial rabies shot good for one year. After receiving the second immunization the following year, your dog generally needs a booster every three years. Most rabies vaccine side effects are similar to those of other injections, but there are some rabies-specific potential adverse reactions.
Rabies Vaccine Side Effects
Common vaccine side effects include swelling at the injection site or an abscess. Your dog might experience temporary lethargy or appetite loss for a day or so after the shot. In the past, use of a modified live rabies vaccine sometimes caused neurological problems. Veterinarians now use a killed version of the vaccine that doesn't result in these issues. However, the killed vaccine does slightly raise the possibility of an anaphylactic reaction, which is life-threatening. While outright collapse is the most obvious anaphylactic reaction, less severely affected dogs might experience facial swelling, breathing difficulties and weakness. Your vet must administer epinephrine immediately to counteract this allergic reaction.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.