Today Seems like a Good Time to Talk About Rabies

Vet and dogsWA State rule 246-100-197 states, “An owner of a dog, cat, or ferret shall have it vaccinated against rabies and revaccinated following veterinary and vaccine manufacturer instructions. An owner is any person legally responsible for the care and actions of a pet animal”.

All dogs, cats, and ferrets in Washington must have up-to-date rabies vaccines. Rabies is a deadly virus that can affect people and animals. Any mammal can get rabies. However, bats are the only animal in Washington known to carry rabies. In other states, raccoons, skunks, foxes, and coyotes are known to carry rabies.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Wouldn’t it just be easier to vaccinate people against rabies?” Preventing rabies from spreading in animals is the best way to protect people. Many wild animals can carry rabies. Fortunately, the only wild animals in Washington that currently carry rabies are bats. Vaccinating pets is an important part of making sure rabies does not become more widespread in other animals in our state. There is a rabies vaccine for people in high-risk occupations, like veterinarians and animal control officers, that is given before being exposed to a potentially rabid animal. It consists of three shots at a cost of about $200 per shot ($600 total). Rabies vaccines for animals cost $7-20 (the cost at Northwest Spay and Neuter Center is $10). The first booster shot is needed after one year, and subsequent boosters typically every three years.  Northwest Spay and Neuter Center can only vaccinate pets at our clinic for surgery.  If your pet has already been spayed or neutered, please see your regular veterinarian for follow up care and booster vaccines.

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