The threat of rabies is a real one even though the threat to humans and their pets has dramatically declined in recent years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prior to 1960 the majority of reported cases of rabies were in domesticated animals whereas 90% of contemporary cases are now found in wildlife. Additionally, the number of humans affected by the disease has dropped from around 100 annually to just a handful – if that. Such changes are no doubt due to the successful vaccination of thousands of pets.
While vaccinations against rabies are usually undertaken yearly, one council in Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee, has decided to reduce the stress against pet parents by enabling cats and dogs to be vaccinated every three years instead. Metro Council's bill will come into effect from January 1st, 2017 and could see veterinary bills for many pet parents slashed. Following that first booster shot, pet parents will only be required to attend city-operated clinics every three years, though veterinarians will still be authorized to carry out vaccinations yearly.
Council Member Erica Gilmore, who proposed the bill told News 2: "If [pet parents] go through any vet or any outreach that we do through the city, they only have to do it every three years. It's time saving and it also helps people to realize their cost as well. They can save money."
In addition to this new bill, Metro Animal Control (who operates across the county) is offering monthly shot clinics where pet parents will be able to claim rabies vaccinations for just $10 if they are struggling with costs. According to the Government of Nashville and Davidson County's website: "The change to monthly vaccination clinics will allow community members more flexibility to obtain low-cost rabies vaccinations throughout the year."
Some critics are worried that this relaxation of the law will cause pet parents to forget their animals' shots and allow vaccinations to lapse. Whether or not this will be the case remains to be seen, though those that are concerned will still be able to seek yearly injections for their pets.