Pet Vaccinations: Vaccinations for Your Cat or Dog (cont.)

How can you tell if a vet is a good one?

"If they take time to explain vaccines and ask about your pet's lifestyle, I'd say that's a good vet," Casal says. "If you have one who doesn't want to hear questions, that's not where you want to be."

Does the federal government require rabies shots?

No. Only 39 states require rabies vaccines for dogs and 31 for cats, according to a 2008 survey by the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians. Even within states, rabies requirements vary widely, says Charles Rupprecht, VMD, PhD. Rupprecht is chief of the rabies program at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The disease is fatal in animals but can be cured in humans who seek medical help immediately. One person died of rabies in the U.S. in 2007, the latest year for which statistics are available.

What is "vaccinosis"?

"The term has no scientific or medical meaning and is no doubt an attempt to discredit vaccines," says Henry J. Baker, professor emeritus of veterinary medicine at Auburn University and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Education.

SOURCES: Ronald D. Schultz, professor and chairman, department of comparative biosciences, University of Wisconsin.

Ronald D. Schultz, professor and chairman, department of comparative biosciences, University of Wisconsin.

Margret Casal, DVM, University of Pennsylvania.

Kate E Creevy, DVM, MS, DACVIM, University of Georgia.

Lucy T. Dimick, DVM, The Ohio State University.

Richard B. Ford, DVM, MS, North Carolina State University.

Henry Baker, DVM, professor emeritus, Auburn University; editor-in-chief of Journal of Medical Education.

Andrea Looney, DVM, senior lecturer, New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University.

Andy Smith, DVM.

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