Rabies Information

What is Rabies?

Rabies is a viral disease that can affect all mammals, including humans. The virus attacks the central nervous system and can be secreted in saliva. Because rabies affects people as well as animals, control of this disease has become a top priority for the Bureau of Animal Health.

With the cooperation of the Department of Public Health and the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, every angle of potential rabies exposures gets covered in order to prevent further rabies infections.

More Information on Rabies »

Keep Your Pet Current with Vaccinations

All dogs, cats and ferrets are required to be currently vaccinated against rabies. Your pet's first shot will be good for one year. You may get the booster shot 9-12 months later to receive a vaccination good for 3 years.

However, if you let your pet's first shot expire by even one day the next shot will only be good for another year. You must show the veterinarian proof (a rabies certificate) that the shot is current in order to receive the 3 year booster.

Once your pet has received the 3 year booster he may receive 3 year boosters for the rest of his life. If you let a 3 year booster shot expire then the following 3 year booster will only be considered to be current 30 days after it has been given.

A dog license will not be issued unless your dog has a current rabies vaccination.

Protect Yourself and Your Pet from Rabies

  1. Never approach a wild animal or stray pet, even if the animal looks friendly or hurt. Be careful around any animal that seems confused, aggressive, or unusually slow.

  2. Table scraps and pet foods attract wild animals. Feed your pets indoors. Make sure outdoor garbage cans are closed tightly.

  3. Rabies is caused by a virus found in saliva.

  4. Make sure your pets have rabies shots. Keeping pet's rabies shots up to date protect you and your pets.

  5. Don't allow pets to roam. They can get rabies from other animals.

  6. Foaming at the mouth does not always mean an animal has rabies.

  7. Wild animals are naturally afraid of humans. An animal acting friendly may be sick.

  8. Don't try to handle wild animals. Never keep wild animals as pets.

Unknown to most Boston residents are the numerous amounts of wildlife residing in our city. Among them are skunks, raccoons, oppossums, squirrels and bats. Except for the common squirrel, all of these animals are nocturnal. This means that they sleep during the day and come out to hunt for food at night.

Remember, wildlife resided here before us. Some wildlife isĀ retuningĀ in full force because of the cleaning of the green areas in our city where they have more habitat and food.


  • 2016 Dog Licensing & Low-Cost Rabies Vaccine Clinics

    It's that time of year again! The 2016 Schedule of area low-cost rabies vaccine clinics as well as dog licensing information is now available.

    2016 Clinic Flyer

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