Monday, December 5, 2011

Time for the dog's rabies shot!

Liam the pug and Lucy the cat snuggling together
Lucy comforts Liam after his visit to the vet.
Let me say, right off the bat, that I am not against vaccines. Run a quick search on the web for "dog vaccines" and you'll come across acres and acres of sites that suggest that all vaccines for dogs should be banished from the Earth. (On second thought, don't look at those sites. They contain some pretty scary photographs. Even I don't like to look at them, and I've seen my fair share of animal misery from years of working in veterinary clinics.) This is not a blog entry that bashes vaccines.

While I don't hate vaccines, I do try to use common sense. I do not give my dog yearly vaccines, and I never give any of the "optional" shots. Liam isn't at risk for anything like Lyme disease, so I'd rather not expose his system to the vaccine for no reason. In addition, I never give multiple vaccines at the same time. I figure one shot at a time is enough for my immune system, and it should be good enough for Liam's system as well. If he needs multiple shots, we have multiple visits.

Last weekend, Liam was due for his rabies shot. This is not the sort of shot you want to let lapse. Most states, including Oregon, have strict rules regarding dog rabies vaccinations, and those can include steep fines. In addition, if a dog is not in rabies shot compliance and that dog bites someone, the county can impound the dog for a specific period of time, just to make sure the dog doesn't have rabies. Liam isn't a biter, but I still don't like to take any chances, so in we went.

The main problem with a rabies shot is that it must be given by a licensed veterinarian. While some other shots can be more inexpensive as a technician can give them, this isn't the case with rabies. In most cases, you must pay for a rabies shot and a complete physical exam. Then, you must renew the dog's license with the county. In Multnomah County, if you provide the rabies vaccine but don't pay for a license, you receive a nasty letter in the mail that threatens fines. It's easier to just pay up at the end of the vet visit, I find.

After $200 and a half-hour appointment, we were done. Now, I just have to break it to Liam that this constitutes his Christmas present this year.