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Pet Vaccines Best Defense Against Rabies
All animals kept as pets should be vaccinated against rabies.

Pet Vaccines Best Defense Against Rabies

All animals kept as pets should be vaccinated against rabies.

All animals kept as pets should be vaccinated against rabies.

Rabies is a deadly disease with more than 7,000 cases of rabid animals spreading the disease to people nationally each year. The kinds of mammals that potentially carry rabies can vary depending on geographic location.

“In Alabama, 39 animals tested positive for rabies in 2013, 55 were positive in 2012 and 82 were positive in 2011.” Dr. Soren Rodning, a veterinarian with the Alabama Cooperate Extension System said.

Rabies is 100 percent preventable in pets that are properly vaccinated. Rabid animals spread the disease to people through exposures to saliva or nervous tissue from an infected animal.

“In most cases, preventing rabies is as simple as ensuring adequate animal vaccination and control.” Rodning, who is also an associate professor in the Auburn University Department of Animal Sciences, said. “It’s important to avoid contact with wild animals and educate people how to eliminate the potential risks associated with exposure to  rabies.”

Lee County Health Department

Lee County Health Department

Leaving empty feeding and water bowls outside for a pet can attract stray animals. Garbage can also draw unwanted wildlife to your home and should be kept firmly concealed.

“Implement reasonable efforts to prevent contact between your pets or livestock and possible carriers of rabies,” Robert Spencer, Urban Regional Extension Specialist, said. “For farmers, woven and electric wire can exclude coyotes and stray dogs from pastures with livestock, and not allowing raccoons, skunks, and opossums to set up in your residency.”

Feral dogs are the most likely route of rabies transmission to people worldwide. Other potential carriers of rabies are skunks, bat and even canine animals are susceptible too. The most prominent source of rabies in Alabama are raccoons and bats.

“If you suspect your livestock guardian or pet has acquired rabies, contact your veterinarian of choice for recommended procedures,” Spencer, said.

In the case of your pet biting someone or yourself being bitten, contact a physician immediately and report it to your county health department. Contact local animal control if the bite was from a stray or wild animal. Also, any pet that is bitten by a stray animal should be taken to a veterinarian immediately to be examined for infection.

Valuable livestock, ferrets, horses and any animal that has contact with people frequently should be vaccinated as well. Allowing a pet to roam freely in an area with wildlife can increase the probability of being exposed to rabies. Wild animals should not be kept in homes as pets.

 “Most of these potential carriers are nocturnal and tend to be more active during night and early morning,” Spencer, said. “If you encounter these animals during day time, and their behavior is unusual or aggressive, avoid them, call animal control, and as a last resort euthanize them.”

About Emma Sager


  1. Getting your pets vaccinated is one of the best things you can do for them. It helps prevent them from getting potentially fatal diseases. Like you have said, it is always good to contact the vet if you have any questions or what you should do procedure wise.

  2. Vaccines are given to prevent your dog from getting infectious diseases. The vaccinations are necessary because they fight against those pathogens with no specific treatments, like rabies.

  3. Deanna R. Jones

    Thanks for the post! I liked what you had to say about vaccinating animals for rabies. It seems like the right vaccines can be a good way to prevent animals from spreading rabies to humans and other animals. I wouldn’t want my kittens to get rabies, so I’ll be sure that they get their shots so that they’ll remain free from disease.

  4. We live in a forest and we have a lot of wild animals that come onto our property. We have two dogs and they are always chasing animals around. My wife and I are worried about them getting bitten and then getting rabies. So when I found this article I thought it was such a good idea to get them shots to prevent them from getting rabies.

  5. Jamarcus Dantley

    We just recently got our first dog and we’re way excited. We want to make sure that we care for it the best way we can. I had no idea that so many dogs had rabies and that it’s 100% preventable. We’ll make sure that ours is vaccinated against it.

  6. It would be so sad if the face of the dog pictured was infected with rabies 🙁 I am a major dog lover, and always want to do what I can for my pets. We got ours vaccinated a long time ago, and hopefully will help them be protected from everything! Although the number of infections passed is relatively small, it’s still a number that everyone would to see at zero. Thanks for the post!

  7. I agree, rabies is definitely preventable in pets. Personally, I wouldn’t want my dog to ever get rabies, let alone pass it to any other human or animal. Educating people about how animal vaccinations can help to get rid of rabies in animals is very important. I didn’t quite understand the importance of dogs getting a rabies vaccine until I decided to adopt a stray that eventually caught rabies. It was very scary witnessing him go through that. I learned from that experience just how much the rabies vaccine can help prevent animals from catching it.

  8. I think vaccinations are really important for pets. People don’t really think twice about giving vaccines to people, but they don’t realize that there pets need similar ones. It’s a good way to prevent rabies.

  9. Hello, and thank you for sharing this article on the importance of pet vaccinations. There are many reasons why pet vaccinations are important to the animal, other animals and people around them. I’ve always thought it was important for pets and animals to get all the vaccinations they need.