Lapsed rabies vaccines focus of JAVMA study

This month, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA), published findings from a study that tested 74 dogs and 33 cats with current versus out-of-date vaccinations and that were exposed to rabid animals. For animals with out-of-date vaccinations, the traditional response is euthanasia or 6-month quarantine. However, the study challenged that response. Animals in the study with out-of-date vaccinations responded well after receiving an immediate rabies booster and did not develop any signs of illness.

"Our results show that the two groups of animals—those that are out-of-date and those that are up-to-date—respond the same, and . . . should be treated the same," stated Dr. Mike Moore, project manager for the rabies lab at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the report’s lead author. "If animals considered out-of-date have been primed with an initial vaccine, then when they’re boostered after exposure, their titer goes up really high, really fast, and that’s what we want in the case of exposure to rabies." Dr. Moore discusses the research in a podcast.

The researchers recommend that dogs and cats whose vaccinations have lapsed be treated the same as those whose vaccinations are current: immediate booster vaccination followed by observation for 45 days after exposure to rabies.



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