Importance of Rabies Vaccination

Dog and cat owners can prevent rabies in their pets by keeping their vaccinations up to date. Per state law, dogs and cats must be vaccinated for rabies by 4 months of age. Vaccinations are good for one or three years depending on the type.

High-risk animals for rabies in Texas are skunks, bats, raccoons, foxes, and coyotes. Rabbits, hares, and small rodents such as squirrels, rats, mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, and chipmunks are rarely found to be infected with rabies and have not been known to cause rabies in humans in the United States. Dogs, cats, horses, and cattle are the most frequently reported rabid domestic animals in Texas.

Rabies Prevention

The Department of State Health Services also offers the following advice for rabies prevention:

  • Keep cats and ferrets indoors and keep dogs indoors or in a fenced yard.
  • Spay or neuter pets to prevent unwanted animals that may not receive proper care from visiting your animals.
  • Teach children not to play with any animal that they do not know, even if the animal seems friendly.
  • Avoid animals, both domestic and wild, that appear disoriented, fearless or aggressive. Nighttime animals such as bats, raccoons and skunks that are active in the daytime may be sick.
  • Do not touch any wild animal that appears ill or dead.
  • Don’t attract wild animals to your yard. Avoid leaving pet food outdoors, and keep garbage in closed containers.
  • Stay away from wild animals, and never keep a wild animal as a pet. Have domestic ferrets, wolf-dog hybrids and livestock, especially those that are in frequent contact with humans, vaccinated against rabies.

Additional Links

Informative websites on rabies: