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Think rabies is a disease of the past, or only found in third world countries?
The California Department of Public Health reports eye-opening statistics to the contrary. In 2015, there were 208 positive cases of rabies reported in California alone: 183 bats, 22 skunks, 2 cats (one in Mendocino County and one in Monterey County), and 1 coyote. Thirty-two percent of all reported rabies cases occurred in the Southern California counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Diego. Here in San Diego County, 6 rabid bats were confirmed.
Most pet owners in Valley Center comply with rabies vaccinations for their canine companions because of the legal requirement by the County. However, please don’t overlook the fact that this vaccine’s primary function is to help protect your pet, and most importantly you and your family, from contracting this terrible disease.
And what about cats? Cats are both efficient predators and curious, playful creatures. This predisposes them to a high rate of close, repeated contact with wildlife, such as a downed bat, allowing for possible transmission of the rabies virus. Since there is no legal requirement for cats to be vaccinated, this leaves the majority of pet cats unprotected against rabies. For this reason, the American Association of Feline Practitioners Vaccination Advisory Panel recommends vaccination against rabies for all cats where rabies is found, which is all of California. Even indoor cats get out “once in a while”, or bats can find their way into the house.
In other countries, rabies may be common due to lack of education and vaccines. Here in this country, we are fortunate to have both readily available. The first rabies vaccination your pet receives is effective for one year. Each vaccination following this gives protection for three years. Please make sure all of your dogs and cats are protected today!
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Thank you Dr. Newcomb for all the love and compassion you and your staff shower on me and my dogs and cats whenever I come in or call. Thank you for being there when I need you the most.