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Published: Jan 03, 2012

Rabies is one of the most dangerous viral diseases that may affects mammals—including humans and common companion pets. VCA Animal Hospitals reports that dog vaccinations can be effective in preventing the animals from contracting the illness, and there are also vaccinations for cats, horses and ferrets. It is important for pet owners to understand follow-up booster shots for dogs and other pets are required for a pet to be properly protected against rabies and are necessary to keep them safe and healthy.

The frequency of rabies booster shots can vary from state to state, and VCA reports local veterinary clinics will know just how often pets will need to be vaccinated.

Washington, for example, recently passed a law that went into effect on New Year's Day, which requires all cats, dogs and ferrets to be vaccinated, according to local news publication The Daily News. Prior to this legislation, most local governments only required dogs be vaccinated in order to get a license, however, there are licensed vaccinations available for cats and ferrets now.  The intent of this legislature is to protect more pets—and therefore their owners and the public at large—from exposure to this potentially fatal disease.     

The news source reports that bats are the main source of rabies, but raccoons and other wildlife are also known carriers of the disease. Limiting access to these creatures is also important in preventing exposure to rabies. Ask your veterinarian if you have concerns about rabies in your area.