May 31, 2023

Do puppies have rabies when they are born?

No, puppies are not born with rabies. Rabies is a viral disease transmitted through the bite of an infected animal or, very rarely, through a mother’s milk if the mother carries the disease. It's crucial to vaccinate puppies to protect them from this potentially deadly disease.

Do puppies have rabies when they are born

In the rest of this piece, we’ll explore if puppies usually gain immunity from their mother’s milk in the first weeks of life, ask whether dogs with rabies can survive, and highlight early signs and symptoms breeders and dog owners need to watch out for and get checked. Above all, though, we’ll give a definitive answer to the question, do puppies have rabies when they are born?

First though, let’s find out what rabies is.

Table of Contents

What is rabies?

Rabies targets the nervous system and causes the brain to swell, leading to death. It’s a virus transmitted through the bite and saliva of infected animal when they bite and break the skin. All warm-blooded animals can spread rabies.

With rabies, there’s an incubation period in which the animal is a carrier. This can last anywhere from 10 days to a year. The incubation period will vary depending on several factors, including the position of the bite. The gestation period will take less time, the nearer it is to the brain.

Once signs begin to appear, death typically follows within a week to ten days. Therefore, you should get your pups vaccinated against the disease before symptoms begin to show.

Remember, dogs that appear to show signs of rabies  don’t necessarily have the disease, but you should take them to a vet as soon as possible to get checked. Before we find out about early signs and symptoms, let’s check out how common it is.

How common is rabies in puppies?

Rabies in puppies is very rare in the UK. Indeed, in the US, only between 400 to 500 cases of rabies are reported each year in pet cats, ferrets, and dogs combined.

Despite its rarity, you should always get your pets vaccinated. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and rabies is an entirely preventable disease. You should get dogs vaccinated every 1-3 years.

If possible, a rabies vaccine should also be given to pregnant or lactating dogs.

It’s certainly not a risk I’d willingly take with my little Cavapoo Bean!  Next, we’ll learn about the signs and symptoms.

What are the warning signs that a dog has rabies?

Early signs of rabies typically develop 10 days after a dog has been infected. The sooner you spot the symptoms, the more time you’ll have to seek help and treatment for you dog before his or her condition worsens.

Signs of rabies include:

  • Restlessness.
  • Tiredness.
  • Fever.
  • Vomiting.
  • Increased aggression and biting.
  • Difficulty swallowing and dribbling.

You should also take your dog to be checked out by a vet if you find any unexplained bites on their body, or if you suspect they’ve been bitten by a potentially rabid animal.

Can puppies gain immunity from their mother?

Yes, puppies can usually gain immunity to rabies from their mother’s milk. However, this immunity lasts only a short time, typically a few weeks. If the mother has very high immunity though, the immunity can last up to 4 months.

Now it’s time to find out if dogs can survive rabies.

Can dogs with rabies survive?

There’s about a 10-15% chance that a dog with rabies will survive. That means about 15 dogs out of every 100 will be able to fight off the virus without any treatment.

This is because some dogs will produce antibodies when exposed to the virus, meaning that the dog will live.

Vaccination against rabies

It’s vital to vaccinate your puppy against rabies. The first rabies vaccine is usually given at around 12-16 weeks old. Follow up injections are necessary to maintain immunity. Vaccination not only protects puppies but also helps prevent the spread of the disease.

You should also avoid contact with unknown or wild animals who may carry the virus as much as possible. One precaution you can take is to keep your puppy on a lead during walks.

See ‘How much exercise does a Cavapoo need?

Conclusion: Do puppies have rabies when they are born?

No, puppies do not have rabies when they are born. Unless the mother carries the disease in her breast milk and passes it on, the only way puppies can get rabies is if they’re bitten by an infected animal.

Though we’ve discovered that rabies is rare and that a few lucky canines will survive, it is a potentially deadly virus that’s easily preventable.

Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Get your pups vaccinated and ensure they get booster injections when needed to help ensure they can live healthy, happy lives.

If you found this post interesting, you might also like “Does birth order matter in puppies?” and Is birch milk good for puppies?

See other "Puppy" posts below

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