Rabies in Indiana and World Rabies Day
There were 40 confirmed cases of rabies in Indiana in 2009. 39 bats, one human. That human, a 43 year old man, died of the disease.
If 39/40 cases of rabies in 2009 occurred in bats, why does Indiana require rabies vaccination of domestic dogs and cats?
Ah, there’s the key.
The answer, of course, is that vaccinated cats and dogs serve as a primary level of human protection from rabid wildlife, including bats.
IN SUMMARY: Vaccinate every cat and dog, and you will prevent (most) of the spread of rabies from wild animals to humans.
From the World Rabies Day website, www.worldrabiesday.org:
“Despite being 100% preventable, one person dies from rabies every ten minutes. It is estimated that 52,560 people die worldwide from rabies each year. Children are particularly at risk, with almost half of all rabies deaths occurring in children under 15 years. The main source of human exposure to rabies, especially in children, is from dogs. Rabies can be transmitted from dogs not vaccinated against the disease. Vaccination tends to be neglected in many parts of the world.”
Now, back to World Rabies Day in the USA, where the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has declared the USA free of domestic canine rabies. That’s domestic canine only.
In 2009, there were 6,994 confirmed cases of rabies in the United States. That number included 300 wild (unvaccinated) cats, 81 wild (unvaccinated) dogs, 2,327 raccoons, 1,625 bats, 504 skunks, and 88 foxes.
The take home message of World Rabies Day is this: rabies is still present in Indiana, and the only reason we don’t see the disease in more humans is because we vaccinate our cats and dogs. If your unvaccinated dog or cat is exposed to a rabid animal, not only may your beloved pet become infected, but you and your family may be at risk as well.
Protect yourself, protect your children, protect your pets. All it takes is one simple yearly vaccine to prevent rabies in your cat or dog, and keep the US rabies free. Celebrate World Rabies Day the way it was intended, by vaccinating your pets. Please call Leo’s Pet Care at 317-721-7387 right now and get it done.
The message of World Rabies Day is clear – It’s the law, and it’s good medicine.
UPDATE – AAFP RELEASES UPDATED CAT VACCINATION GUIDELINES
In clear violation of state laws, not to mention common sense, the American Association of Feline Practitioners has recently released their suggested guidelines for vaccination of cats. Within these recommendations, rabies vaccine has been moved from the “Core Vaccines” section to “Non-Core”, suggesting rabies should “be administered to cats in specific risk categories on the basis of an individual risk/benefit assessment.”
The guidelines then continue with the comment “vaccination against rabies is essential in regions where it is required by statute/law or where the virus is endemic”.
What those guidelines fail to mention, is that rabies vaccination of all cats and dogs is required by law in every state in the US, without exception, for exactly the human health reasons I’ve outlined above.
Please vaccinate every cat and dog in your home for Rabies, and join us on World Rabies Day in helping end the transmission of this deadly disease.