What if your pet has been bitten? (Part IV of Rabies 101)

Maintaining current rabies vaccination status on dogs and cats is critically importantWhen the local health director or animal control officer investigates a case where a dog or cat has had a confirmed rabies exposure to an animal testing positive at the State Laboratory of Public Health, or determines through an investigation that it is reasonable to suspect that the animal has been exposed to saliva or nervous tissue of a proven or suspect rabid animal, the first question should be:  Is the exposed animal currently vaccinated against rabies?  Does the animal have a current rabies vaccination certificate?  If the animal is current, then all that is required is a booster within five (5) days of exposure to maintain current vaccination status (NCGS 130A-197).  It is also recommended that the animal remain under the owner’s control and observed carefully for 45 days for potential signs of rabies.  Anytime a booster is given, a new rabies tag and certificate should be issued.

If an animal does not have a current rabies vaccination certificate nor veterinary documentation and a determination of rabies exposure has been made, NCGS 130A-197 requires the owner to euthanize the animal or place it in a facility for up to six months quarantine.

(Taken from NC Dept. of Public Health)