Health Dept. addresses new regulations on rabies

By Rebecca Lane - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Arkansas legislature is attempting to modernize rabies vaccination procedures.

Since 1945, Arkansas law mandates that all cats and dogs must be vaccinated annually.  With advancements in medicine, rabies vaccinations have become more potent, and most states have changed annual vaccinations to once every three years.

Dr. Everett Rogers of The Jonesboro Family Pet Hospital says that until regulations change in Arkansas, they are still requiring the annual rabies vaccinations.  Dr. Rogers says to his understanding, the regulations will leave the decision up to the individual veterinarians as to what federal licensed vaccines they will utilize.  The three-year vaccine will not be mandated.

According to Dr. Rogers, because Arkansas is a rural state and has such wildlife as skunks, bats and raccoons, rabies is wide-spread.  He explains that the three-year vaccine will strictly be for rabies.  Other health procedures and vaccines for animals should remain on their same schedule.

Dr. Rogers also warns to be cautious for abnormal behavior in animals.  If a bat or a skunk-- both normally night-time animals--are out during the day and acting strangely, do not approach them.  He says this could be a sign for rabies.

The Health Department will go through several public hearings this fall and if there is no opposition, Dr. Rogers believes new regulations could go into effect in Arkansas as soon as January 1st of 2010.

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