Rabies Vaccination Policy

posted: by: Franklin Falls Animal Clinic Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

In recent years, rabies has become more prevalent in wildlife populations which means humans and pets are more frequently exposed to this fatal disease.  Skunks, raccoons, foxes and bats are the species that most frequently carry and transmit this disease.  Rabies is most commonly transmitted through saliva when infected wild or domestic animals bite humans or other animals.  However, the varient of the virus carried by bats can be transmitted through the air.  A child in northern Indiana died in 2006 from the Rabies virus passed to her by a bat.

Indiana state law requires that you have your pet (dog, cat, or ferret) vaccinated against rabies virus either every one or three years.  This vaccination serves not only to prevent the spread of the rabies virus, but is the primary factor in determining the type of medical treatment bite victims receive and how state health regulators handle your pet after he or she has bitten a human or other domestic animal.

For these reasons, it is essential that this practice be able to document the rabies vaccination status of your pet.  Acceptable documentation includes a rabies certificate, a valid rabies tag, or a letter, fax, or phone call from your veterinarian with the date of administration of the vaccine.  Please provide that information upon arrival at the clinic so that it may be be included in your pet's medical record.

If you cannot substantiate the rabies vaccination status of your pet,we must consider him or her to be unvaccinated and the following public health regulations might apply:
  • If your pet is unvaccinated, bites any person or animal, shows clinical signs consistent with rabies, but does not die (and is not euthanized), he or she must be strictly quarantined for ten days at a facility approved by the state at your expense.
  • If your pet is unvaccinated, bites any person and dies (or is euthanized) within ten days of the bite, his or her head must be removed and sent to the state diagnostic laboratory for rabies testing.
Having your pet vaccinated against rabies virus is of the utmost importance. Keeping documentation of that vaccination is equally important both for your pet and for your family.  In order to further research the issue of Rabies in Indiana, visit the Indiana State Board of Animal Health.  If you want more information on the fatal case of Rabies in Indiana, click here.