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Rabies vaccination review dog & cats
Rabies vaccination review
The Oregon State Veterinarian's Office recommends you read & follow rabies vaccine manufacturer's instructions. All vaccines are licensed for use according to the instructions on the label. Liability for any other use would fall directly on the individual veterinarian.

Vaccinations guidelines
The following guidelines (marked with a •) are taken from the "Compendium of Animal Rabies Control" which is reviewed and published annually by the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians. Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control.

What age for first vaccination
At what age is the first vaccination required?  
  • Primary (or initial) vaccination is recommended at 3 months. Vaccines are licensed for use in animals 3 months and older.
Most states require rabies vaccination for dogs and cats which are 3 months or older. A few states do not require vaccination until 4 or even 6 months.
If writing a CVI for interstate movement, call the state of destination for current requirements.]

How long is first rabies valid
How long is the first rabies vaccination valid?
  • The first vaccination is valid for one year, regardless of age at vaccination and regardless of vaccine used.  

Rabies "booster" vaccination
How long is the rabies "booster" vaccination valid?
  • This depends type of vaccine used (read the label). Obviously, one year vaccines are valid for a maximum of one year. Three year vaccines are valid for a maximum of three years.
 
However, the three year vaccines may not be valid for three years, depending on the requirements of the state the animal is going to. Some states require annual vaccination regardless of vaccine used.
 
For Oregon-resident animals which are not leaving the state, a "booster" given with the three-year vaccine is valid for three years.
 
For Oregon-resident animals which are going to another state, the "booster" must meet the state of destination requirements. Some states require annual vaccination, regardless of vaccine used.
 
For most current information, call the state of destination for their requirements.

Rabies booster is overdue
What if the rabies booster is overdue?  
What to do if the vaccination is overdue depends on whether the animal has been or may have been exposed to rabies.
 
"Rabies exposure" means -  "Rabies is transmitted only when the virus is introduced into bite wounds, open cuts in skin, or onto mucous membranes."  Part III(A)(1)
"Any animal potentially exposed to rabies virus by a wild, carnivorous mammal or a bat that is not available for testing should be regarded as having been exposed to rabies." Part III(B)(5) [emphasis added]
Immediately notify your CHD of any potential exposure of humans to rabies.

Pre-exposure vaccination
Pre-exposure vaccination & management
 
For dogs, cats, and ferrets which have not been exposed to a rabid animal.
"If a previously vaccinated animal is overdue for a booster, it should be revaccinated with a single dose of vaccine and placed on an annual or triennial schedule depending on the type of vaccine used." Part III(B)(1)(a)

Post-exposure management
Post-exposure management
For dogs, cats, and ferrets which have been or may have been exposed to rabies
"Animals with expired vaccinations need to be evaluated on a case by case basis". Part III(B)(5)(a)

Report any animal-bites
Report: Mammal-Bites-HumanIncidents
 
Although the incidence of rabies in Oregon is very low, you are required by law to report any bite of a human by a rabies susceptible animal to your County Health Department (CHD) within 24 hours from its occurrence.  Phone numbers are provided on the next page.  The CHD will evaluate the situation and determine appropriate action.
 
Factors that determine how a bite incident is handled include, but are not limited to:
1.     Animal species
2.     incidence of rabies in that species in that county
3.     whether the biting animal has a current rabies vaccination (for dogs and cats)
4.     whether the bite was provoked or unprovoked
5.     whether the biting animal has been exposed to an animal suspected of having rabies or is itself suspected of having rabies
 
If the CHD determines no further action is required, your clients may ask about having an animal tested at their expense.  Call the OSU Diagnostic Laboratory at 541-737-3261 for details about specimens required and costs involved. 
 
For more details, call the Oregon Public Health Division or the Oregon Public Health Veterinarian at (971) 673-1027, or check the Oregon Department of Human Services rabies web site.