Keep Pet Rabies Vaccinations Up-To-Date

Armen Hareyan's picture

Washington State Department Of Health

Pet Rabies Vaccinations

During warmer months, people and their pets are more likely to encounter bats and may be exposed to rabies.


Avoiding contact with wild animals, especially bats, and vaccinating your pets are the best ways to protect you and your family from getting rabies.

Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system in mammals. Death usually occurs days after symptoms begin. People exposed to a rabid animal must receive anti-rabies vaccines to prevent the disease. The virus can be transmitted after a bite from an infected animal. It can also be spread to open wounds or mucous membranes by an infected animal's saliva.

"People are most often exposed to rabies when they handle bats," said Dr. Ron Wohrle, environmental health veterinarian at the state Department of Health. "Any bat that is found on the ground, has been caught by a pet, or is found in the house could have rabies. The local health agency should be consulted to consider testing the bat or for guidance on release or proper disposal."

In Washington, bats are the animal of most concern for rabies