In recent years, rabies has become more prevalent in wildlife population, which means humans, and pets are more frequently exposed to this fatal disease. Skunks, raccoons, foxes, and bats are the species that most frequently carry and transmit this disease. Rabies is most commonly transmitted through saliva when infected wild or domestic animals bite humans or other animals.
Some state laws require that your pet be vaccinated annually for rabies; others require it every three years. This vaccination serves not only to prevent the spread of the rabies virus, but is the primary factor in determining the type of medical treatment bite victims receive and how state health regulators handle your pet after he/she has bitten a human or other domestic animal.
For these reasons, it is essential that this practice be able to document the rabies vaccination status of your pet. Acceptable documentation includes a rabies certificate, a valid rabies tag, or a letter, fax, or phone call from your veterinarian with the date of administration, serial or lot number, and expiration date of the vaccine. Please provide the following information, so we can include it as a vital part of your pet's medical record.
If you cannot substantiate the rabies vaccination status of your pet, we must consider him/her to be unvaccinated and the following public health regulations might apply:
1. If your pet is unvaccinated, bites any person or animal, and shows clinical signs consistent with rabies, but does not die and is not euthanized, he/she must be strictly quarantined for ten days at a facility approved by a public health officer at your expense.
2. If your pet is unvaccinated, bites any person .and dies or is euthanized within ten days of the bite, his/her head must be sent to the state diagnostic laboratory for rabies testing.
As evidenced above, the rabies vaccination status of your pet can have serious consequences should he/she bite a human or another animal. If you do not have documentation of current vaccination with you, please provide this information as soon as possible.Alternatively, if your pet has no history of a recent bite wound and shows no symptoms consistent with rabies, you may have your pet inoculated today, so that he/she has valid vaccination documentation.