Jan 25 2016

1-year vs. 3-year Rabies vaccines, what is the difference?

You know your pet received a 3-year rabies vaccine in New Hampshire and then you moved to Massachusetts and your veterinarian tells you that your pet is not current on a rabies vaccinated.  How could this be?  Every state has different rabies laws, and what is true in one state may not be true in another.

Here is Massachusetts, in order to have a valid 3-year rabies vaccine, a dog or cat must have a primary series of vaccinations.  They must receive 2 shots, 9-12 months apart.  The first shot is normally given when the dog or cat is about 3 months of age.  This shot is said to be effective for one year.  The dog or cat must then go back to the veterinarian and receive a second shot no sooner than 9 and no greater than 12 months from the date the first shot was given.  If the second shot is given within that 3 month window then the second shot is good for 3 years and every vaccine after that is considered effective for 3 years.

Regardless of the age of the dog or cat, if the primary series was not given correctly then the rabies vaccine is only considered effective for 1 year.  If you have questions about whether your pet is vaccinated for rabies, give us a call, we would be happy to help you!

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