Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association president Dr. Kate Harnish today reminded Pennsylvanians of the importance of getting back on track with regularly scheduled pet vaccinations and boosters. Maintaining up-to-date vaccines is not only important for the health and well-being of cats and dogs, but for the health and safety of Pennsylvanians.
By Pennsylvania law, all cats and dogs three months of age and older are required to have current rabies vaccinations. Even pets that are indoors only are required to be vaccinated. Each year, dog wardens visit neighborhoods across Pennsylvania to conduct dog license and rabies compliance checks. Owners of pets without current rabies vaccines can face fines of up to $300.
Rabies is a virus of the central nervous system that can affect any mammal, it is widespread throughout Pennsylvania. It is of great public health concern because it can be transmitted to humans and is nearly 100 percent fatal without post-exposure treatment. Since 2000, between 350 and 500 animals in Pennsylvania annually are confirmed in a laboratory to have rabies. The most commonly affected animals are raccoons, bats, skunks, and cats. The last diagnosed human case of rabies in Pennsylvania was in 1984. The best way to prevent the spread of rabies and protect human health is vaccination of domestic mammals.