State law already says the owner of every dog and cat over four months of age must have the animal vaccinated against rabies . In North Carolina rabies vaccine can be administered only by a licensed veterinarian or by a certified rabies vaccinator or in some cases by the owner if they can demonstrate that they know how to do it properly.
Instead of viewing the cost as an expense, view it as an investment. Imagine having to tell your wife that the family puppy had to be put down and she must undergo a series of shots because you thought a $12 rabies vaccination was just too expensive.
Even worse imagine she was one of the rare number of people who actually die from the disease. Or imagine your legal liability if it was your dog that bit a neighbor’s child who got the disease. A typical vaccination series with the rabies immunoglobulin can cost $1,500 to $2,500 per person. Your legal liability would be a whole lot more than that.
And the crime is rabies in domestic animals is 100 percent preventable.
“It’s critical to keep current on rabies vaccinations to protect pets,” says Suzanne Jenkins, a epidemiologist and state public health veterinarian for Virginia, “and, more importantly, so they cannot transmit rabies to people.”
Even indoor pets should have rabies vaccinations. In one case, a woman had an indoor cat with a bat in its mouth. The bat, which escaped, was assumed to have rabies , making for the tough decision of either euthanizing the cat or isolating it for six months. The cat was put to sleep.
The first rabies vaccination is good for a year. After that a single shot is good for three years. That works out to 33 cents a month. That’s pretty cheap insurance to protect you, your family and your pets. If you take advantage of local deals offered by vets you can do it for half the cost. If you can’t afford 33 cents a month, you can’t afford to own a dog or a cat. And we’d urge you not to wait. Do it now.
Animals in the early stage of rabies may not have any signs, although they can still infect you if they bite you. The incubation period is the time from the animal bite to when signs appear. In animals it is usually one to three months. But it can last as long as several years, according to the CDC. Once the virus reaches the brain or spinal cord, signs of the disease appear.
In humans, signs and symptoms usually occur one to three months after the bite. Once people develop symptoms, they almost always die.
Is it worth it to sit back and do nothing?
We don’t think so.