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A rabies vaccination is very important for your pet’s health. While the thought of your companion contracting rabies is scary, the rabies vaccine is effective at preventing the disease and keeping your pet safe so you can rest easy.
Whether you have a puppy or kitten, or an adult dog or cat, your veterinarian will put your furry friend on a vaccination schedule to ensure they stay rabies-free throughout their life. Learn more about why your pet needs a rabies vaccine, what to expect when you take your pet to the vet, and the cost of treatment.
The cost for a rabies vaccine depends on the area you live in, but they’re generally affordable since they’re considered to be a core vaccine for your pet. The rabies vaccine cost for cats or dogs are similar in price. A single dose ranges from $15 – $50, depending on what type of facility they’re vaccinated at and what part of the country you live in. If you have a dog insurance policy with MetLife, this cost can be offset as part of your pup’s annual care.1,2
Rabies is a fatal virus that attacks the nervous system.3 It’s excreted through saliva and is most commonly spread through bites from an infected animal. In rare cases, it can also be contracted when infected saliva makes contact with an existing open wound.
It’s most common in wild animals, like racoons, bats, skunks, coyotes, and foxes, and it can sometimes be found in feral cats or stray dogs. The prognosis for rabies is fatal once mammals show signs of the virus, as there’s no treatment once it’s contracted. Even scarier, the virus can stay dormant for months as it travels through the spine and brain.4
Rabies can present in different ways, but the most common symptoms among all animals who contract rabies include:3
Not only are rabies vaccines legally required for your dog or cat, but it’s also your pet’s best defense against contracting the virus, especially if they spend any amount of time with other animals or play outdoors.5 Upon adopting your furry friend, your vet will check any prior medical history and put your pet on a vaccine schedule to ensure they’re properly protected.
If your pet hasn’t been vaccinated prior to being in your care, it’s important to consult with a vet immediately to get them up-to-date on their vaccinations. The same anti-rabies vaccines are given to dogs and cats, though the timing and age requirements are a little different.
Dogs have two options for rabies vaccines: a 1-year rabies vaccine or a 3-year rabies vaccine.6 They only slightly differ when it comes to the frequency of booster shots, but they provide the same results. The initial dose for both options can be administered as early as 3 months old, with either an annual booster for the 1-year vaccine, or a booster 1 year later and then every 3 years following for the 3-year vaccine.6
Cats can be vaccinated at a younger age, with their first dose administered as early as 8 weeks old. After their first dose, they’re required to be boosted annually.6 Newer vaccine options are available for cats to be boosted every 3 years, but it requires them to be 12 weeks old upon receiving their first dose.7
It’s important to remember there’s no treatment for rabies once contracted, so the best defense you can offer your pet is vaccinating them early and getting their boosters on schedule. This will give you peace of mind that your furry family member can live the fun and carefree life they deserve!
1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.
2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.
3 “Rabies and Your Pet,” American Veterinary Medical Association
4 “The Path of the Rabies Virus,” Center for Disease Control
5 “State Rabies Vaccination Laws, American Veterinary Medical Association
6 “Pet Vaccines: Schedules for Cats and Dogs,” Fetch by WebMD
7 “A Safer Three Year Rabies Vaccine Now Available for Cats,” Animal Hospital of North Asheville