While Mr. Hill's editorial letter of last week's statement that in North Carolina a pet (dog or cats only) can receive a one- or three-year rabies certificate was technically correct, he was incorrect in stating that the vaccine used for the certificates is the same. For a veterinarian to legally provide a three-year certificate, they must use a rabies vaccine that is licensed and has been laboratory tested and certified to have a three-year duration of immunity. These three-year vaccines cost more per dose than a one-year vaccine. Many local veterinarians offer both one- and three-year vaccinations at their clinics. The use of which vaccine is decided over age of pet, lifestyle, species, and the financial constraints placed on us by the owner.
Over vaccination of a pet is not necessarily defined as the frequency of injection of vaccine a pet receives, but rather when the pet receives vaccines that are not warranted or in the pet's best interest for their age/lifestyle. Rabies vaccinations are required by law in North Carolina (NC Statute 130A-185) for all cats, dogs and ferrets. Mr. Hill, if you are concerned about over vaccination of your pet, please bring your concerns to the attention of your attending veterinarian.
Contrary to what the public believes, the rabies clinic recently held in Macon County IS NOT funded by Public Health Department. The rabies clinic is funded totally out of the pockets of the veterinarians that participated. The cost of the rabies clinic vaccination is set by the Board of County Commissioners, a body of public officials that had no risk of monetary loss when they chose to set the fee well below what the state of North Carolina allows for the rabies clinic prices. The $5 cost of a rabies vaccination did not cover the cost of a one-year vaccine, syringe, needle, cost of tag, vaccine storage, technical support wages, veterinarian's time, cost of the license and continuing education needed to maintain the license to be able to administer the vaccines, the liability insurance necessary to participate nor the time both veterinarians, their staff and administrative help lost with their families to provide this community service. When one tallies ALL costs of providing this community service, the veterinarians lost money on every vaccination they administered, but somehow Mr. Hill insinuates that veterinarians are greedy or have hidden motives for using one-year vaccines. Perhaps, community members should instead thank veterinarians for providing the rabies clinic as a low cost way for pet owners to meet the legal requirements of owning an animal and protecting the public welfare.
Ann Shower, DVM