Standing Up to a Viral Monster—with Rabies Tags

Werewolf attacking woman

Rabies is a contagious and fatal malady, infecting only mammals, and transmitted primarily through the saliva of the infected animal. It causes madness and convulsions in dogs and other afflicted creatures. Some of us learned at an early age about the tragedy of rabies through Fred Gipson’s classic novel, Old Yeller. Other novels and films have used the terror of rabies as a plot point, and to good effect. Stephen King’s Cujo and Chuck Palahniuk’s Rant come to mind. Harper Lee’s award-winning To Kill a Mockingbird touches on the inherent danger of a rabid dog when it wanders into town; and Atticus Fitch, though hesitant, uses his skill with a rifle to put the dog down. Being mammals, humans too can become infected if bitten by a rabid bat, dog, or other infected animal. What can be done to prevent this disease? Following (most) state regulations, pet owners should have their dogs and cats (and ferrets!) vaccinated against rabies. The vaccination status should be easily visible on a durable rabies tag affixed to a collar worn around the neck of the pet.
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Prudence Is a Virtue

Cute dog with blue rosette rabies license tag

Owners of domesticated pets, such as dogs, cats, and even ferrets, wonder about the necessity of getting their animals inoculated against rabies in this day and age and—to add insult to injury—making them indefinitely wear visible rabies license tags to show they’ve been vaccinated. The short answer is Yes, it is necessary! Unlike smallpox (the only microbe-caused disease known, as of 1980, to be effectively eradicated globally), rabies still thrives in parts of the world. Because they are mammals, your furry pets are vulnerable.

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Why You Need a Dog License Tag

Dog Running with Pet ID Tag

Exuberant greetings, constant companionship, unconditional love, and Instagram-worthy capers are the daily perks of being a dog owner. While this drama-free, happily-ever-after fairytale requires minimal exertion on our part, there are pertinent matters—like getting a dog license—that mandate our attention.

Obtaining a dog license is a prudent and necessary measure to ensure your loyal companion’s safe return in the event your pet goes missing. Imagine Mischief, your spunky German Shepard puppy-in-training, disappearing in the woods, entranced by some mysterious scent. Or coming home one evening and not seeing Sasha, your Terrier with a penchant for chasing plump squirrels in the backyard, leaping with joy at the door.

Your first instinct would be to lean out your house door and call for your pooch by name. If that doesn’t work, you might hop in your car and drive around the neighborhood for hours looking for them. After that, your last hope is that someone else finds your dog; and in that instance, a pet ID tag is your best chance of being reunited with Mischief or Sasha.
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Do I Have To Get My Dog Or Cat A Rabies Vaccine?

2021 Rabies Tags

Both dogs and cats, as well as ferrets, are required to have a rabies vaccination in New York State, and the veterinarian who administers the shot will give you a Rabies Tag as proof of inoculation. If you’re not a New York resident, you can find more information about your state here: Rabies Aware. You can get a rabies shot medical exemption for your dog or cat if a licensed veterinarian determines that the vaccination will adversely affect your pet’s health. If getting a rabies vaccination is a concern for you, best have a conversation with your veterinarian.

In addition, if you live in New York, you must obtain a license for your dog once it reaches the age of four months. How often that license needs to be renewed – every one, two or three years – is the option of your local government. Fees vary by county and some counties have a significantly lower fee if your dog is neutered or spayed. Cats and ferrets do not need to be licensed. And ferrets may present another issue depending upon where you reside. Continue reading “Do I Have To Get My Dog Or Cat A Rabies Vaccine?”

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PSA: A New Pet Disease Even Scarier Than Rabies Rears Its Head

Wild marten with rabies

Pet tags on collar clip ringsThose little metal pet rabies tags you attach to your dog or cat’s collar are much more than jingling baubles. Rather, they are shining insignia that represent one of humankind’s great victories over a centuries-old scourge.

The annals of recorded medical history are dotted with numerous spectacularly terrifying diseases and pandemics. Some of the most notable include:

  • The Antonine Plague of 165 A.D., which killed some 5 million people and decimated the Roman army. It is believed to have been a smallpox or measles epidemic, brought back to Italy by soldiers returning from Mesopotamia.
  • Bubonic Plague—better known as the Black Death of the Middle Ages—a deadly bacterial infection, spread by fleas and rats, that ravaged three continents and took an estimated 200 million lives.
  • The Flu Pandemic of 1918, which was a perversely lethal strain of influenza that tore across the globe and struck down an estimated 50 million otherwise healthy, robust young adults.
  • HIV/AIDS, which has racked up a combined death toll of 36 million worldwide since it appeared on the scene in 1981.

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