What states do not require rabies vaccinations for dogs? Here’s the Answer

Who is authorized to administer a rabies vaccination?

Depending on jurisdiction, those who can legally administer a rabies vaccination range from licensed veterinarians to veterinary technicians or assistants under direct veterinary supervision. In some states, pet owners are authorized to administer the vaccination.Advertisement

What species must be vaccinated?

Surprisingly, only 39 states mandate rabies vaccination for dogs; 11 states have no statewide legal requirement for rabies vaccination of any species. Feline rabies vaccination is required in 34 states, and vaccination of ferrets is required in 20 states.

Rabies is a fatal virus that attacks the central nervous system. It is most commonly transmitted when a rabid animal bites another animal or person. Without prophylactic measures, the infection will result in death within days of onset.

For more information please visit the CDC’s Rabies resources here. For the most current rabies vaccination recommendations please visit the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians’ website to review the Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control, 2016.

Before 1960, rabies was a persistent problem among domestic animals, such as dogs, cats, and ferrets. Today, most rabies cases occur in the wild. However, rabies transmission to domestic animals, common house pets, and humans is still a reality. Fortunately, rabies is preventable in both humans and animals. Public health professionals and lawmakers alike have employed various strategies, such as vaccination mandates and animal import regulations to prevent the spread of the disease. As a result of successful prevention strategies, the United States has witnessed a dramatic decline in human rabies-related cases and deaths: the number has fallen from 100 deaths per year in the early 1900s to three or fewer per year.

This map includes data on state-level pre-exposure rabies vaccination laws for domestic dogs, cats, and ferrets across the United States, as well as data on those laws referencing the Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control. This dataset relies on external validation for accuracy and understanding of the application of laws and policies. If you would like to provide input on how your state’s laws have been captured please email the CDC’s Public Health Law Program at [email protected].

CREATED BY: Public Health Law Program within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support

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