When people get a new dog or cat, they might question whether rabies vaccination is really needed. Maybe they consider it just another frivolous expense, or perhaps they view it as unnecessary because they plan on always keeping the cat indoors.
In reality, spending a few minutes and a few dollars getting the vaccination can spare pet owners from the expensive and even fatal consequences of rabies, which kills hundreds of pets annually and puts humans at risk for contracting the deadly disease.
To give you a better idea of why rabies vaccination is always a smart move, we have compiled the following list of reasons to have your pet vaccinated.
1. Vaccination protects your pet’s health
The most recent published numbers for the United States show that 303 cats and 69 dogs had confirmed cases of rabies in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although those numbers may not seem extremely high, it should be noted that those cases could have been easily prevented with a simple vaccination.
Rabies vaccine is highly effective at protecting pets if they are bitten by a rabid raccoon, skunk, fox or other animal. The vaccination prevents pets from succumbing to common rabies symptoms, such as drooling, partial paralysis, behavioral changes and ultimately death.
2. Vaccination safeguards your family’s health
If your unvaccinated pet contracts rabies, it becomes an immediate health threat to anyone near the animal. Rabies is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be spread from animals to humans, and the disease is fatal to humans without prompt treatment.
Rabies treatment for humans is highly effective if administered early enough, but the best way to protect your family from rabies exposure in the first place is to make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date.
3. Vaccination keeps you from having to make a tough decision
When an unvaccinated pet is exposed to rabies, pet owners are often forced to make a difficult decision. They can either have the pet euthanized, which is the recommended protocol according to the CDC, or they can have it quarantined for 180 days, which can cost thousands of dollars and require the pet to spend months away from home.
On the other hand, owners who can provide proof of vaccination or even expired vaccination often have better options, including much shorter quarantine periods and the ability to quarantine the animal at home instead of an outside location.
4. Rabies shots are affordable and easy to obtain
Pet owners who assume they will pay a hefty bill to get their animals vaccinated against rabies have nothing to fear. The rabies vaccination is often available for as little as $10, or even for free in some shelters and veterinary clinics that offer occasional deals.
Vaccination is an affordable and quick process, after which owners need only to remember to abide by their area’s vaccination schedule, which usually mandates subsequent vaccinations every one, two or three years.
5. Failure to vaccinate is often illegal
Failing to get pets vaccinated against rabies is unlawful in the majority of the country. Most states require pet owners to have their dogs vaccinated against rabies, and many states demand the same for cats. Failure to comply with the laws can lead to monetary fines for pet owners.
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