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ame: Rayven
Status:  n/a
Grade:  n/a
Location: DE
Country: USA
Date: Fall 2012

I have 4 week old puppies. A girl in my class told me that new born puppies can contract rabies. Why do they get rabies even though the mother has her vactination?

our friend is correct, but unlikely. However, I would not worry about it if your mom of the puppies has been vaccinated against rabies and is current with her shots. For the puppies to have rabies would be unsusal. Rabies is a virus transmitted by saliva. Someone or something would need to have contact wit a rabid animal's saliva. If he puppies are kept indoors and the mother is also, it is unlikely to have any puppy have rabies.

I suggest you contact your vet for more info and get the puppies their shots as preventives.

Stephen R. Dunn Ass't Professor of Medicine (ret.) Kimmel Cancer Center & Division of Nephrology Thomas Jefferson University

Hello Rayven,

That is a good question. While it is true that the puppies could get rabies, it is not possible unless they were exposed to a rabid animal like a bat with rabies. It is also true that since the mom was vaccinated she may transfer some degree of temporary immunity to disease to her pups. This type of immunity wears of over time, which is why we like to begin vaccinating puppies after a few months of age. I’ve attached a link to a website that provides some good detailed information.

I hope this helps. Regards, Louis M. Huzella, DVM, Diplomate ACVP


Congratulations! Puppies are so much fun!

At 4 weeks of age, the pups are still nursing and will get their mothers antibodies through her milk (and these last until about 6 weeks of age). So if their mother was vaccinated, the pups will be covered. I suppose they could "technically" still acquire rabies if they were bitten by a rabid animal, as vaccines are not 100% perfect. However, in this circumstance (e.g. pups in a good home and with Mom), I would consider that scenario VERY UNLIKELY. And as always, if you have any questions or concerns about your pups, have your veterinarian check them over - better safe than sorry. :)

Cheers! Saundra Sample, DVM Emergency Veterinary Specialist Resident in Clinic Pathology University of Wisconsin

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