Rabies- What You Need To Know

In light of World Rabies Day on September 28th, I thought we should talk a bit more Rabies to raise awareness.

Rabies is a virus that has no cure and it affects the spinal cord and brain. All mammals can be affected, including dogs and humans.

How is it transmitted?

Rabies is passed along in saliva, often through a bite from an infected animal. If the bite breaks the skin, the virus will enter the bloodstream. It can also be transmitted by exposure of an open wound, if an infected animal licks it. In most cases, dogs develop symptoms within 21-80 days after being exposed. Once symptoms start showing rabies can’t be treated so it is important to call your vet as soon as your dog has been bitten.

What are the symptoms? 

  • Restlessness
  • Irritability, even aggression
  • Uncharacteristically affectionate
  • Fever
  • Noise and light sensitivity
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Excessive drooling
  • Staggering
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis

Rabies vaccination

Before travelling abroad, your dog must have the rabies vaccine. You’ll need to supply proof to your vet that your dog is over 12 weeks old before they can be given the vaccine.

If you’re visiting Europe or Northern Ireland, you will have to wait 21 days before travelling after the initial vaccination.

You will have to get frequent booster vaccinations for rabies before travelling. More information on this can be found on your dogs health certificate.


Since the UK left the EU, pet owners will now need to get a health certificate before they can travel with their dog – and the estimated time period for this is around four months. Your dog will need the Rabies vaccine and blood tests, taken 30 days after their jab, to be sent to an EU-approved laboratory. You will then have to wait three months after the samples come back clear before travelling.