The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, as well as, their Wildlife Services department have been working together or many years to overcome the rabies epidemics plaguing our pets and animals in our nature’s wildlife. For this reason, over the past few decades many states have utilized oral rabies vaccines (ORV’s) in an attempt to control the spread of the rabies virus among their local wildlife. These oral vaccines come in a few different forms, which we will discuss further in this blog. Continue reading to answer your question about oral rabies vaccines, their effectiveness, and how they work.
Oral Rabies Vaccinations
The intention of oral rabies vaccinations is to provide a vaccine for local wildlife that is at risk of contracting or spreading the rabies virus. Many states have participated in this approach to vaccinating wild animals, and have seen positive results. These oral vaccinations come in a variety of forms and are generally distributed in bulk by dropping them from airplanes or manually placing them all about. They are left on the ground for wildlife to consume, like skunks, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, and more.
One of the most common forms or ORV’s are made into flavored pellets. These pellets are generally the size of a small ring box and brown in color. They are manufactured with many different scents or flavors, like fish or lard, to attract wild animals to eat them. On the pellets is a stamp from the local health department and a phone number for questions and concerns. Other ORV’s come in the form of a packet that looks similar to a white ketchup packet. These packets are covered in fishmeal that help attract raccoons and other animals to eat them.
Many states have adopted this form of vaccination because it has shown positive results. Places like San Antonio, Texas have used the “ketchup packet” ORV approach, while many other states like Main, New York, Virginia, New Hampshire, Tennessee, have used alternative ORV methods that work equally as well. All of these oral rabies vaccines have been tested several times over the decades on hundreds of animals, and has proven to be non-toxic to dogs, cats, and more. If a dog or cat consumes an ORV, they will be just fine. If they consume many, they may have an upset stomach and need a trip to a veterinarian.
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