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Lake Cumberland District Health Department

A healthy today for a brighter tomorrow.

Animal Bites and Rabies

Dog, Cat, and Ferret Rabies Vaccinations

According to Kentucky Law KRS 258:015 and 902 KAR 2:070, every owner is required to vaccinate against rabies their dog, cat or ferret at age 4 months and revaccinated 1 year after initial vaccination regardless of type of vaccine or age of animal. After the initial vaccination and 1 year revaccination, the time period required for revaccination shall be dependent upon the type of vaccine used and the next vaccination due by date as documented on the vaccination certificate. Vaccines must be administered by a veterinarian holding a valid Kentucky license.

Rabies is a serious disease that is caused by a virus. Each year, it kills more than 50,000 people and millions of animals around the world. Any mammal can get rabies. Raccoons, skunks, foxes, bats, dogs, and cats can get rabies. Cattle, horses and humans can also get rabies. Animals that are not mammals such as birds, snakes, and fish do not get rabies.

Program Standards

All dogs, cats, and ferrets reported to have bitten any person are quarantined by the Local Health Department for ten (10) days for observation. This is done at either the animal owner’s home or a local animal clinic. Some general signs of rabies in animals are as follows:

  • Changes in an animal’s behavior
  • General sickness
  • Problems swallowing
  • Increased drooling
  • Aggression

Dogs, cats, and ferrets, which stay well during the ten-day period, are released. Those animals, which become sick are sacrificed and tested in the State Rabies Laboratory.

All non-domesticated or “wild animals” must immediately be sacrificed and tested in the State Rabies Laboratory. Domesticated farm animals are evaluated on a case by case basis.

*Note: Head of animal must be unaltered in order for laboratory to test. 

For more updated information, you can click on this link for the Center for Disease Control.

What to Do in Case of an Animal Bite

  1. Depending on the severity of the bite, call your doctor or go to a hospital emergency room.
  2. Take a description of the animal
  3. If possible, without endangering yourself, confine the animal so it can be quarantined.
  5. Call the Local Health Department to begin investigation of the incident.

Rabies Prevention

Rabies vaccines are approved for dogs, cats, horses, cattle, sheep and ferrets. Proper and up to date vaccination of your pets is the first line of defense against rabies. Animal rabies vaccines should be administered only by, or under the direct supervision of, a veterinarian.

The LCDHD works with local veterinarians and the State Rabies Laboratory in efforts to control rabies. The Local Health Department sponsors a rabies vaccination clinic, which is offered at a low price every year. (Usually in the summer months, call for more details.)