In Georgia, all dogs and cats over three months of age are required to have rabies shots once a year and to wear a current rabies tag. Why is getting the vaccination so important?
Without adequate protection, the infectious disease rabies can be passed easily from one animal to another -- or from animal to human. Although it is almost always fatal, it is easily preventable -- with a once-a-year shot, usually costing less than $15!
Most rabies occurs in wild mammals, such as skunks and raccoons. What is a human's chances of getting the disease from them? We may think the risk is small. However, what about our unprotected animal companions? They frequently encounter other creatures, both wild and domestic. Can we be sure that all the animals they meet are healthy? If a family pet gets the disease, it is a short step to transmitting it to another animal -- or to a human.
It is evident that once-a-year rabies shots for dogs and cats are a protection not only to the animal, but to all people who come into contact with it. But why must a pet wear a current rabies tag?
Wearing a tag is very important. It shows that the pet's owner has complied with Georgia law. It can also easily eliminate the possibility of rabies in an animal bite investigation.
By having an animal vaccinated for rabies once a year and by attaching a rabies tag to its collar, animal owners can have peace of mind knowing that they are protecting not only their pet but themselves and their neighbors also.