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Study: Rabies booster can protect pets with out-of-date vaccines

Is your dog’s rabies vaccination overdue?

You don’t need to be worried (not that you were).

If you’re like me, you probably haven’t vaccinated your indoor cats in years. Oops, did I just admit that?

A new study by the Kansas State University found that pets with overdue rabies vaccinations are extremely unlikely to develop the disease even if exposed to the virus as long as they are given a rabies booster immediately afterwards, according to an article in Science Daily.

Plus, it’s not like many of our pets are at risk of contacting rabies to begin with. At least, not if you’re in an urban or suburban area like I am.

Golden retriever sitting in the leaves

But I don’t mean to put this so lightly.

Unfortunately, pets with out-of-date vaccinations in the United States that are exposed to the rabies virus are required to either stay in observed quarantine for six months or be killed, according to Science Daily. The quarantine can cost an owner up to $7,000, which some people obviously just can’t pay.

The good news is this study gives pet owners and veterinarians new options when faced with what to do with a pet that has been exposed to the rabies virus, and hopefully it helps change some of the laws that require rabies vaccinations so frequently (annually, in some areas).

Read the full article here.

Do you ever get “behind” on your pet’s vaccinations?

Related blog posts:

Dog vaccinations: What not to do

Are too many vaccines bad for adult dogs?

Should you walk your puppy before he’s had his vaccines?


Wednesday 28th of January 2015

Belle got a bump the last time she got a rabies shot that grew bigger and took three months to go away. And after reading this blog and doing some research after that, I will space my dogs vaccines out as much as possible. And living in Alaska, we have yet to really worry about heartworms, and are just starting to get ticks and fleas. Don't worry about the cats, if you keep Ace up to date and any fosters are up to date, you shouldn't have to worry to much.

The fun one is the horse gets a rabies shot!! And I've even gotten a rabies tag for her! And finally after 7 years of hot spots after shots, our large animal vet makes two rounds for vaccines. And doesn't give all of them at the same time. Which makes Pita and I happy campers.

Jana Rade

Wednesday 28th of January 2015

The only time we got "behind" or rabies vaccinations was for health reasons. I've always been afraid of getting behind on that one. Seems that now I don't have to fret quite as much.


Tuesday 27th of January 2015

It's great that they're looking into this! I hope it does change the laws. I hate having my dog vaccinated every year; it seems like such over-kill. I respect it as a necessary evil (for now), since rabies is such a serious disease I understand the FDA doing everything they can to eradicate it. Oh, and I get the shots required for my indoor cats neuter and generally never bother after that . . . so you're not the only one confessing something, heh.

Lindsay Stordahl

Tuesday 27th of January 2015

The rabies vaccination is required every 3 years where I live, and I probably wouldn't have Ace vaccinated that often if I didn't board him. But, I do board him once a year or so.