Infectious diseases can pose a serious threat to the health of our beloved pets. Unfortunately, there are many different viruses and diseases present in the world, most of which can be transmitted with ease. Since our animals tend to have little regard for sticking their noses and tongues into virtually anything they come across, even those illnesses which need direct contact to be transmitted can be spread very quickly.
Protecting our animals from these contagious diseases is extremely important, not only for the health of our pet but also for the greater good. In the past, entire neighborhoods of animals have been wiped out by deadly transmittable sicknesses, so by not vaccinating your pet you are putting potentially thousands of pet’s lives at risk. Equally, a number of the infectious diseases that animals can suffer from are zoonotic, meaning that they are capable of being transferred from animals to humans. In the case of a deadly virus such as rabies, failure to protect our pets using vaccinations can even put human lives in danger.
Currently, the only pet vaccine actually required by law in the United States is the vaccine for rabies. However, there are a number of other vaccinations which are considered to be crucial to your pet’s preventative care and are strongly advocated by veterinarians and local authorities despite not being lawfully mandatory.
Core vaccines for dogs include:
Core vaccines for cats include:
What is rabies?
Rabies is a serious viral disease that affects the nervous system and is almost always fatal. It is also zoonotic meaning that it can be transmitted from infected animals to humans. More than 50,000 people each year die from rabies, but as the rabies vaccine is mandatory in the U.S. the number of reported annual fatalities from the disease here is usually less than 5.
Since animals who have rabies secrete large amounts of the virus within their saliva, most transmissions take place when the infected animal bites another creature or person. However, it can be spread through a scratch or if an infected animal’s saliva comes into contact with an open wound or the mucous membranes of another.
Ensure you follow your own state’s laws regarding pet vaccinations
Although rabies is the only vaccination required by law, each state has its own local rules stating which pet vaccines are mandatory and it is essential that you find out and adhere to those for your state. Failure to do so could see you given a hefty fine, and refusal to vaccinate your pet could potentially see you suffer further consequences with your local authority including jail time. It is also possible that your pet may be confiscated and/or euthanized.
Laws regarding bringing animals into the United States
There are also laws pertaining to vaccinations for animals arriving into the United States from other countries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention insists that all dogs arriving into the U.S. must be healthy and have a certificate proving that they have a current vaccination against rabies. Those dogs which have never been vaccinated against rabies must be vaccinated at least 30 days prior to their entry to the United States.
While cats are not required to have proof of rabies vaccination for importation into the U.S. since most states require vaccination of cats for rabies, it is strongly advised that your feline is still sufficiently immunized ahead of her arrival. It is also important to note that your cat will be assessed at the port of entry, and if the veterinarian believes that she may be unwell or carrying an infectious disease, she may be denied entry into the country.
If you have any questions about the laws surrounding mandatory vaccines, speak to your veterinarian or call Soundside Animal Hospital to schedule an appointment today.