Keeping your pets vaccinated is a key element of being a responsible pet owner. Years ago, veterinarians decided that the rabies vaccination was the only vaccination that should only be maintained and administered by a licensed veterinarian. Pet owners could purchase and vaccinate their pets with rabies vaccination from a farm store, but their pet would not be considered legally vaccinated. Unless a Titer test is given to the animal, the animal would be considered unvaccinated if it were to bite another animal or a person.
There are two reasons why veterinarians give the rabies vaccination: pet owners cannot be trusted and veterinarians need the business. The second thing that comes out of a pet owner’s month when their pet bites someone is “Don’t worry, he’s vaccinated.” When the dog is running towards the person, the pet owner will first exclaim, “Don’t worry, he won’t bite.” If the owner lied about the first thing, the owner probably lied about the second. Without a vaccination certificate from a licensed veterinarian, the pet owner could just print out a blank certificate on-line, complete it and then present it as proof of vaccination. Rabies is serious stuff and causes a horrible death; pet owners just cannot be trusted to do this on their own.
Rabies vaccinations keep veterinarians in business. The simple way to confirm whether your veterinarian uses the rabies vaccination as a business tool is to look at the rabies expiration date. The Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control 2016 provides approved rabies vaccination for 1 year and 3 years for adult animals. Most veterinarians worry about over vaccinating a pet and will administer the 3 year vaccination. I have encountered veterinarians to use the 1 year vaccination to “force” the pet owner to return for annual examinations; pressuring the pet owner to be more responsible for their pet (to get them in for the pet’s annual vaccinations (that are not required by law)).