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State to mandate rabies vaccine for dogs, cats, ferrets

State to mandate rabies vaccine for dogs, cats, ferrets

One-year-old Bella loves to be brushed and will glady accept a nice scratch behind her ears.

by Susan Wyatt

Bio

KING5.com

Posted on December 27, 2011 at 3:27 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 27 at 3:52 PM

Starting Sunday, rabies vaccines will be mandatory for dogs, cats and ferrets.

While many cities and counties require rabies vaccinations for some pets, vaccinations have never been required by the state.

The Department of Health says every year many bats test positive for rabies, and bats are the primary source of rabies in the state. Encounters with sick bats are a primary way that pets can be exposed to rabies.

The DOH says several hundred people have to get the series of rabies shots each year because of possible exposure to the rabies virus.

Cats are the most commonly affected domestic animal nationwide, with twice as many cats testing positive for rabies as dogs, the DOH says.

The new rule was passed by the Board of Health this summer and takes effect on New Year's Day.

More information

Rabies fact sheet

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