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Published: Jul 27, 2012

Vaccinations are crucial for preventing a host of cat and dog illnesses and promoting pet health, but a disconcerting survey in New York showed that a surprising portion of pet owners are not vaccinating their pets regularly, the Press Republican reports.

The survey, conducted by the Clinton County Health Department, aimed to collect the numbers of rabies cat and dog vaccinations from animal hospitals and veterinary clinics in the area, then compare them with the estimated number of pets in the county. Although all the surveys are not in yet, the results are showing a vast amount of pets in the area are not vaccinated against rabies, despite the state law that requires it, the news outlet reports. 

Rabies in dogs and cats is one of the most devastating diseases that affects household pets and humans, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. There is no treatment for the disease - the vaccine will provide protection only if it enters the system before the animal is infected.

"We have been regularly holding rabies clinics for domestic pets, and local veterinarian offices have also been a reliable source for rabies vaccinations," Laurie Williams, coordinator of health education for the Clinton County Health Department, told the news outlet. "But the percentage of pets that are vaccinated against rabies has always been an unknown."

VCA reports that all cats and dogs between the ages of 12 and 16 weeks old should be vaccinated for rabies, and the frequency of re-vaccination boosters should depend on the state laws.