According to the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act, Regulation 567 states that all dogs and cats over 3 months of age must be immunized against rabies and be re-immunized according to the label directions of the specific vaccine product.
At the Kinston Veterinary Clinic we use a rabies vaccine that can be administered at 3 to 4 months of age to kittens and puppies. The next dose is administered one year later and then every three years thereafter for the life of the pet.
All rabies vaccines must be administered by a licensed veterinarian.
It is extremely important to keep indoor only cats up to date with their rabies immunizations. Many calls are received by government personnel from owners who find their cat playing with a bat in their house or apartment or the cat might escape outdoors for hours to days before they return with suspicious bite wounds. Government officials can enforce confinement of the pet for 30 days to 6 months depending on the cat’s vaccination status.
If owners find their pet (cat or dog) with a bat or other wildlife and thus have had some exposure to the wildlife, then do not release or dispose of it until a risk evaluation has been performed by a government official to determine if the wildlife should be tested for rabies.
In the 3 months from April 1st, 2014 to June 26th, 2014 the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food has placed 14 animals under confinement. Of these animals four have been exposed to a confirmed rabies positive bat. All of these forced confinements for 3 to 6 months could have been avoided had the animals been kept up to date with rabies vaccines.
Confinement of a pet for 3 or 6 months is extremely stressful to the pet and to the family. Contact with people or other pets is not permitted for this time. This can be challenging and very stressful in a multi-person or multi-animal household.
Vaccination is the key.