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Protect Your Pets

What You May Not Know About Rabies Vaccinations

Vaccinate At 4 Months And After!

All dogs, cats and ferrets are required to be vaccinated at 4 months of age (even if they are indoor animals).  All dogs are required to wear a current rabies tag.  Cats and ferrets are subject to this requirement as well (unless a local exemption exists).  Once vaccinated, contact your veterinarian and schedule a booster for your pet before their rabies vaccine becomes overdue to ensure your pet is current and that their vaccination never lapses.

It Takes 28 Days For The First Shot To Protect

An animal receiving its first dose of rabies vaccine is not protected until at least 28 days after the vaccine is given, and is treated as unvaccinated until that time.

After The First Shot, Vaccines Protect Immediately

Animals that have been vaccinated before in their lifetime are considered protected immediately upon receiving subsequent vaccinations.  This is true even if there is a lapse between vaccinations, unless the animal has already had a potential rabies exposure. 

A Current Vaccination Is Not Enough If Your Pet Is Exposed

Vaccinated animals that have contact with a rabid animal MUST be re-vaccinated within 5 days (120 hours) of the exposure.  If not, the animal is treated as unvaccinated.

Identify Your Pet!

Roaming, unidentified animals that bite someone can be euthanized 72 hours after a bite.  Wearing required tags, as well as personal ID tags and microchips, will help protect your pet.

Unvaccinated Animals Must Be Euthanized or Quarantined At Your Cost If Exposed

Unvaccinated animals that could have contact with a rabid animal (or an animal that may carry rabies) MUST be euthanized or quarantined for 6 months (see below) to ensure that the animal is not going to develop rabies as a result of the exposure

Animals With Expired Vaccinations Are Treated As Unvaccinated

An animal whose vaccination has expired must be euthanized immediately or quarantined for 6 months if exposed to rabies. Quarantines of this kind are almost always at a veterinarian’s office and the owner is responsible for the cost, which can easily add up to thousands of dollars. 

Created by Orange County Animal Services  www.orangecountync.gov/animalservices

These requirements are from North Carolina’s General Statutes. 

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