All dogs, cats and ferrets are required to be vaccinated at four 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 does not lapse.
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.
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 five 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 four months to ensure that the animal is not going to develop rabies as a result of the exposure. 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.
Animals with Expired Vaccinations Must Provide Documentation of Vaccine
A dog or cat whose vaccination has expired must be able to provide proof of vaccination and be boostered within 120 hours, according to the latest editing of the Rabies Compendium. Dogs and cats without documented proof of vaccination must be treated as unvaccinated.