Rabies vaccination for pets?

A dog getting a shot. Opens in new windowRabies is a dangerous virus that anyone can get if they handle or get bitten by an animal that has the disease. Animal rabies vaccination places a protective barrier between the pets we cherish and potential exposure to rabies.

What is Rabies?

Rabies is caused by a virus and can infect both people and animals. People usually get rabies when they are bitten by an animal that is sick with the disease. Early symptoms of rabies in people can include fever, headache, and weakness. As the disease gets worse, symptoms may include difficulty sleeping, anxiety, confusion, tingling sensation usually at the site of the bite, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, salivating more often difficulty swallowing and fear of water. Death usually occurs within days of the onset of symptoms.

How is my pet at risk?

Family pets and other domestic animals can get rabies if they are bitten by rabid wild animals. When rabies from wild animals spills over into domestic animal populations, the risk to people is increased because of our close contact with pets.

In general, pets have a higher risk of coming into contact with wild animals that may have rabies than we do. Cats, dogs and ferrets that have not gotten their rabies shots and are exposed to rabies must be quarantined for 6 months or be euthanized, because of their risk of getting rabies after the exposure.

To help reduce this risk:

  • Visit your veterinarian with your pet on a regular basis and keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for all cats, ferrets, and dogs.
  • Maintain control of your pets by keeping cats and ferrets indoors and keeping dogs under direct supervision when outdoors.
  • Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted animals that may not be properly cared for or vaccinated regularly.
  • Call to remove all stray animals from your neighborhood, since these animals may be unvaccinated.
  • Do not feed or keep water for your pets outside, and keep your garbage securely covered. These items may attract wild or stray animals.

Rabies prevention for people

Return to Animal Control Homepage