Arkansas considers changing rabies vaccination requirement

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Nov 29, 2008
By dvm360.com staff
Little Rock, Ark. -- The Arkansas Veterinary Medical Association wants the state to put forth a more definitive time interval before it can get behind a proposed change to the state's rabies vaccination law.

Currently, Arkansas and Alabama are the only states that still require annual rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats.

The Arkansas State Department of Health has proposed a change that states "All dogs and cats shall be vaccinated against rabies annually or as required by the state board of health."

"The Arkansas Veterinary Medical Association is not prepared to comment on what that means unless a more definitive interval is defined by the statement 'or as required by the state board of health,'" says Dr. David M. Blount, president-elect of the Arkansas VMA. "However, our association's board does support annual and triennial revaccination according to approved rabies vaccine manufacturers recommendations." Longer-lasting rabies vaccinations, along with cost concerns for consumers and worry that those with multiple pets in rural areas, who were most likely to come in contact with wildlife carrying rabies, were not getting annual vaccines, prompted the state department of health to include the recommendation in its legislative package for 2009.

Not all Arkansas veterinarians are pleased with the proposal.

"Due to such a long interval, there could be extended lapses in revaccination when using a three-year vaccine due to some owners that may just simply lose track of time and not get their pets back in to their veterinarian in the proper timely manner," Blount explains.