WA State Expands Rabies Vaccination Rule

The Washington State Department of Health recently expanded the state’s rabies vaccination rule, (WAC 246-100-197) and the veterinarians at Cottage Lake Veterinary Hospital want you to be aware of these changes and what they mean for your pets.  This rule requires all cats, dogs, and ferrets in Washington to be vaccinated against rabies and re-vaccinated periodically according to vaccine manufacturers recommendation.

Every year, an estimated 40,000 people receive post-exposure rabies vaccinations due to potential exposure to rabies.  Many of these exposures are due to close contact with wild or domestic animals that have come into contact with wildlife known to be reservoirs for various forms of rabies.  Treatment for this exposure is very expensive; full range series of shots for humans range from $1,600 to $5,000 and health insurance usually does not cover the cost. 

In the state of Washington cats are often more likely to be exposed to rabies due to their predatory nature which increases their exposure to bats.  Bats are the only known reservoir of the rabies virus in Washington state.

Bats are commonly seen in the Woodinville, Duvall, Redmond, Bothell, Maltby areas and therefore, the Cottage Lake Vets want to encourage all cat, dog and ferret owners in these areas to keep their pet’s rabies vaccination current.  A booster shot is needed within one year after the first rabies vaccination and subsequent booster shots must be given every three years.

Other ways to help control you and your pet’s exposure to rabies is to bat-proof your house and other structures to prevent bats from roosting and having contact with your family and pets.  In addition don’t leave garbage or pet food outside and do not handle or let your pets near bats.

Not sure if your pets are current on their vaccines – call us at Cottage Lake Veterinary Hospital, we are here to help.

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