December 02, 2008

Encouraging Words for Arkansas Pet Owners

Arkansas pet owners who are concerned about the potential damage from redundant rabies vaccinations are encouraged by recent reports. State government is considering changing the interval to every three years. This will align state guidelines with vaccine science.

Change in pet vaccination law discussed

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas and Alabama are the only states that still require annual rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats, but that could change in the 2009 session.

Because of improvements to the vaccine over the years, and the growing number of pets that continue to go unvaccinated every year, especially in rural areas of the state, the state Department of Health has included in its legislative package a recommendation that the time period between trips to the vet for the shot be extended to every three years.

“It’s a health issue and something we are interested in seeing accomplished,” said Department of Health spokesman Ed Barham.

Susan Weinstein, the state public health veterinarian who has studied the issue extensively, said the law should match the science.

“The science has really advanced,” she said, adding that the majority of vaccines now on the market are good for at least three years, though one-year and four-year vaccines are available.

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