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Rabies Exposure Guidelines: New Study from JAVMA

by Lori Hehn - Jan 9, 2015 3:30:00 PM
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It isn't all that uncommon. A client has a dog that has been bitten or exposed to a rabies "suspect." Whether it be a fox, a skunk, coyote, or bat, any wild animal could be a potential hazard for transmitting rabies to our domesticated pets.

State law is very strict regarding pets and exposure to rabies. There was a story in October 2014 that raised some controversy over this issue. A 10-year old Schnauzer was bit by a rabid skunk. The dog's rabies vaccine had only expired 10 days prior to the attack. The options were to euthanize the dog, or quarantine for 3 months in a kennel with then another 3 months of strict home confinement. The owner was devastated but ultimately chose euthanasia.

For currently vaccinated pets exposed to rabies, they must receive a rabies booster immediately and then be under home confinement for 45 days.

As we know, there is a very high chance that even if the rabies vaccine has lapsed, the animal likely still has immunity. This is why this case is so heartbreaking.

A new JAVMA study, published for January 15, 2015 looks at a Comparison of anamnestic responses to rabies vaccination in dogs and cats with current and out-of-date vaccination status.

Full Abstract 

 Findings in this study "supported immediate booster vaccination followed by observation for 45 days of dogs and cats with an out-of-date vaccination status that are exposed to rabies, as is the current practice for dogs and cats with current vaccination status." 

This is important information to keep in mind for pets that have been vaccinated and exposed to rabies, even if their vaccine has recently expired. While state law will still be in effect, this can provide some additional information to pet owners who find themselves in this predicament.

in Mini Topics, rabies virus 0 Comments

About Lori Hehn

Lori Hehn is a practicing veterinarian and a contributor and content manager with XPrep Learning Solutions. She has a drive for continual learning and enjoys interacting with veterinary and vet tech students. She also writes veterinary learning books for children.

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