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Vaccinations for Your Chihuahua – Rabies

Vaccinations for Your Chihuahua – Rabies

History of Rabies

Rabies is one of the oldest known viruses and dates back to 2300 BC.  The first vaccine against rabies was used in the 1800s.  Throughout history this deadly virus has caused terrible pain and suffering to its victims.

Pet owners today are incredibly lucky to have a relatively risk free way of protecting our beloved little ones from this virus.  The widespread acceptance of regular vaccination against rabies has reduced the number of rabies cases significantly.

Symptoms of Rabies

Everything you have ever seen in the movies or television about rabies where the victim is acting wild and frothing at the mouth is completely true.  Should your Chihuahua become infected with the virus they will start by becoming feverish and feeling generally unwell.

In the later stages of the virus you will notice personality changes, agitation, fear of water, an increase in aggression levels and paralysis of the head and neck area.  Once this paralysis sets in your Chi will be unable to swallow and this leads to the classic foaming at the mouth symptom.  Once these symptoms are seen death usually occurs within one week.

Transmission of the Rabies Virus

Rabies can be transmitted to your Chi through the saliva of an infected animal.  This usually means that the rabid animal needs to bite your pet.  However, if your Chi is often off-leash and comes across the remains of a rabid animal they may become infected if they ingest any of the body.

This sounds quite gruesome but dogs will be dogs – even the little ones – and Chihuahuas are just as prone to finding something nasty and eating it as a German Shepherd.  Don’t assume that your Chi is too picky or finicky to get into this type of trouble. 

Protecting Your Chi

Making sure that your Chihuahua doesn’t fall prey to this deadly virus can be summed up in one word — vaccination.  When you take your Chi puppy to the vet for their first vaccines you will be educated about which vaccines your puppy needs and how often.  Puppies usually receive a series of three vaccines at about 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age.  The rabies vaccine is most often given at the 16 week visit.

The rabies vaccine will need to be given again one year after the first dose.  After this second injection the vaccine is effective for 3 years.  Keeping up to date with the vaccine every three years ensures your Chi protection against the rabies virus.

There are always questions about vaccines especially in how they apply to small dogs like Chihuahuas.  Vaccines come in premeasured doses or vials and it is true that a Great Dane and your little Chi will receive the same amount of vaccine.  Drug companies have to complete rigorous testing to make sure that the amount of vaccine administered is safe for all sizes of dogs but many owners are still concerned.

The best source of information about the rabies vaccine is your veterinarian.  They can tell you which vaccine they use and perhaps even provide data from studies to help address any concerns you may have about your Chi receiving the vaccine.

In the end, all the evidence in the world may not make any difference because in most areas you have no choice but to vaccinate your Chi against rabies.  This horrible virus can affect all mammals including humans and because of the public health risk, it is often the law that your pet be vaccinated.

We all love our little Chihuahuas.  They have such spunk and personality they are hard to resist.  We love to dress them up in Chihuahua clothes, buy them fancy Chihuahua collars and other Chihuahua gifts.  We care for them by buying the best foods and grooming their coats until they shine, especially long haired Chihuahuas.  All these things pale in comparison to the love we show when we get our Chi vaccinated regularly.  When dealing with rabies, prevention is the only course of action.


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