In March 2003, the Texas Board of Health initiated the use of a triennial rabies vaccine for pets every 3 years, replacing the traditional annual vaccination.

This protocol change created significant compliance concerns among veterinary professionals. Therefore, the Texas Department of Health (TDH) quantified numbers of rabies vaccinations in domestic animals before (1999–2002) and after (2004–2007) implementation of the triennial vaccination interval. All data were collected from the TDH Rabies Incident Report (RIR) database. This included data from all cats and dogs aged 4 months and older. Each record included current rabies vaccination status, and percentage of vaccinated animals was calculated and included for analysis. Current rabies vaccinations were identified in 46% of dogs (1894 of 4075) from 1999 to 2002, while 56% (1767 of 3153) had current vaccinations from 2004 to 2007. Current rabies vaccinations were identified in 18% of cats (96 of 532) from 1999 to 2002, while 30% (144 of 473) had current vaccinations from 2004 to 2007. In sum, a significant increase in both canine (p < 0.001) and feline (p < 0.001) rabies vaccinations was identified after initiation of the triennial rabies vaccination. This suggested that the shift from a 1-year to a 3-year rabies vaccination interval resulted in increased rabies vaccination rates.

Commentary: This study supported the efficacy and compliance associated with a switch to triennial rabies vaccination. These data were drawn from a single database, and the results may not be representative of the pet population at-large and nationally. However, if these trends are accurate, they mitigate concerns about decreased vaccination compliance. Injudicious and frequent vaccination is a concern in the field, and this supports the use of appropriate vaccination protocols.—Indu Mani, DVM, DSc

Rabies vaccination compliance following introduction of the triennial vaccination interval—the Texas experience. Rogers CL. ZOONOSES PUBLIC HLTH doi: 10.1111/j.1863-2378.2010.01369.x