Rabies: Majority of Readers Take Precautions

More than 1,010 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "If you knew rabies had been found in wildlife in your area, would you vaccinate your horse for it?"

results of poll on rabies vaccination

Results were as follows: 

  • I already vaccinate for rabies annually: 79.17% (806)
  • I don't currently vaccinate, but I would if I knew this: 16.50% (168)
  • I still wouldn't vaccinate for rabies: 4.32% (44)

Readers shared their reasons for giving the rabies vaccination in the comments below.

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Poll sponsored by Merial.


  • My state doesn’t have rabies
  • Yes I do understand many wild fox and coyotes are rabid si I do vaccinate.
  • Rabies is a real problem in this area; better safe than sorry.
  • develop a strong immune system instead try to avoid all the drugs
  • Rabies is occasionally found in our area so all my hroses, dogs and cats are vaccinated
  • have vaccinated for rabies for over 20 years
  • So far no problem in NW Phoenix area, however rabies was found yrs ago in the SE valley
  • I know in a horse in my area actually died because of rabies many years ago in my area.
  • An oz of prevention is worth a lb of cure
  • Used to yrly. vaccinate in MI, but vets here in KY don't recommend it.
  • I never go without this vaccination. it's way to risky!!!
  • My Vet keeps telling me it is not necessary, same with my daughter horses. I disagree.
  • this is part of yearly vaccination
  • With all the wildlife around, it's not worth risking an unintended encounter causing big problems.
  • Why would you take a chance and not vaccinate...
  • Ever since my uncle's horse died of rabies, I have vaccinated all my horses annually.
  • racoons locally have been found to have rabies. My vet recommended I vaccinate for rabies - so I did
  • I dicided to vaccinate for rabies this year for the first time, when I read that Rabies is becoming
  • Extremely stupid and selfish to NOT vaccinate for rabies!!
  • Too many adverse reactions...bad outbreak, might reconsider.
  • Vaccinate every year
  • Vaccination is necessary when horses are turned out nearly 24/7
  • I don't vaccinate yearly because I test titers and they remain high for many years.
  • I vaccinate because it is zoonotic
  • I believe annual vaccination is the law in my state
  • Most Definitely!
  • Rabied horse is no pretty site, vaccinate!
  • We try to limit the vet visits to once a year except for emergencies.
  • I vaccinate as I do with my cats.
  • In Alaska I did not Vaccinate for Rabies but since Rabies was found in a Horse in CO, I do now.
  • When lived in another part of country, vet recommended and we did.
  • Rabies is a horrible way to die. Not protecting your horses from it is abuse!
  • absolutely! Have to proactive in safeguarding our cherished friends from unnecessary harm
  • My horses are turned out 24/7 with access to their stalls. There is much wildlife thru our pasture.
  • We have had rabid bats oin our area, so yes we vaccinate.
  • Rabies is fatal for humans and animals. I won't take that chance!
  • My mares are precious to me, so I vaccinate. Their lives are worth me to me than the few dollars.
  • There have been too many adverse reactions to the vaccine, I won't take the risk of vaccinating.
  • I would be especially diligent to vaccinate if aware of a wildlife outbreak of rabies.
  • I would vaccinate my dogs and cats, but not my horse.
  • NEED ANOTHER CHOICE! I run titers. Vac. is indicated every 3-5 years
  • too many cases of carcinoma appearing after a rabies injection in dogs
  • To not vaccinate putd the handlers at risk!
  • Do vaccinate for rabies annually, there were conformed cases here in Mich this year in horses
  • Really dumb not too.
  • I want to be safe because rabies are fatal
  • vaccinations are a VERY small price to pay to save the life of the loves of my life!
  • Rabies has a 100% fatality rate... everyone should vaccinate.
  • Rabies has been found in my area and I have vaccinated against it for quite a few years now (central
  • I vaccinate for rabies on the recommendation of my Vet.
  • out of over 3m horses only 30+ get rabies, I would vaccinate only if it was in the local wildlife.
  • rabies is big in our region, we vaccinate every horse every year at considerable expense
  • It's stupid not to.
  • my horses are in a small paddock with minimal exxposure to wildlife so rabies is not a big threat
  • Already vaccinate. It's not just wildlife that can spread it - unvaccinated pets can, too!
  • Our area is endemic for rabies, always vaccinate.
  • I wish a titer could be an indicator to vaccinate or not
  • Are you kidding? Who'd take a chance with rabies?
  • We had 7 cases in 6 weeks at our clinic.. all of my animals horses included immediately
  • rabies is ALWAYS FATAL. Just do it, vaccinate.
  • I don't ride in the wild, primarily rodeos so I am not concerned about wildlife getting my horse.
  • My horse is outside, so I already vaccinate.
  • rabies is endemic in Ontario, so we always vaccinate all our animals against it.
  • I've seen a horse with rabies and it was awful. After seeing that it should be required everywhere
  • Cheap insurance against fatality.
  • If you don't then I guess you don't care much for your horse
  • My Vet & I were both treated for exposure to a rabid horse last yr. Our office HIGHLY recommends vac
  • Horses are in at night, out only a limited hours, perimeter fencing and they run from everything!
  • I insist all my boarders are vaccinated for rabies if nothing else!
  • recommendation from my veterinarian.
  • My area occasionally has problems with rabid bats so I vaccinated my horse whenever one was found.
  • I have only vaccinated when there have been cases of rabies, otherwise, I don't
  • And if I didn't, I would.
  • Regular vaccination, too many rabies cases in the South!
  • We have horses in town, town people stick fingers in mouths.
  • We do have rabies here.. see it nearly every day in fox and other critters. All 30 minis are vax.
  • Rabies is endemic in Florida. Rabis is deadly to humans. No brainer.
  • In Texas is normal to vaccinate for rabies in equids
  • Rabies can kill humans, and it helps to eliminate it as a cause for neurologic disease
  • The chances of my horses being bit by a rabid critter are slim to none. I don't believe in vaccines
  • rabies is a mandatory shot in my province, Ontario
  • There doesn't need to be direct contact with a rabid animal to get rabies. Exposure to saliva will.
  • One of my horses was bitten on the nose by a skunk which turned out to be rabid. I boostered the rab
  • I would run titers on my horses blood to determine their immunity to rabies
  • It's pretty much a no-brainer since there's no cure and you risk killing you and your vet!
  • It is a state law in CT
  • I live in a rural area, rabies is common in summer/fall it is a cheap precaution to the alternative.
  • DUH!
  • Don't take any chances with my guys
  • We recently had a fox trying to jump up and bite two of our TWHs (already vaccinated) on the nose.)
  • my vet says there's no need, but if rabies was found in the area, I'm sure that would change
  • If i don't vacc. for anything else every animal gets a rabies shot
  • my horse stays in the stable unless being worked
  • When I was a kid, our mare came down with Rabies in 1986. It was horrible to say the least.
  • The cost of a vaccine is far less than the results of the disease.
  • Rabies is one disease transmittable from horses to humans, a no brainer as far as I am concerned.
  • I can't buy rabies vaccine only vets can get it so I don't give rabies shots.
  • NM now prohbits sale of rabies to ranchers only vets too much
  • There's something about always fatal.....
  • For $12 bucks it makes no sense not to vaccinate
  • We have coyotes, fox, raccoons, etc., everywhere; it would be irresponsible to not vaccinate!!
  • Mine are vaccinated. I wouldn't take a chance of them being infected with such a horrible outcome.
  • I asked my vet about this and he said there was no need to vaccinate her.
  • I follow my vet's advice on rabies, but I would have him vaccinate in this circumstance
  • Rabid critters can turn up anywhere, rural or urban. It's fatal, but preventable.
  • My horse had very serious reaction to rabies vaccine so he will never receive another.
  • There is no cure for rabies in mammals; vaccinating annually is a total no-brainer.
  • This is a no-brainer. Why take the risk?
  • I already vaccinate, I don't want to risk it!
  • My vet recommends rabies vaccine only if it were to become a problem in Montana...
  • Live in UK, no rabies here generally
  • Rabies is in the wild animal population in Virginia, so anyone with any sense vaccinates for rabies.
  • horse has bad reactions to vaccine so only vaccinate those who don't react
  • I have been vaccinating my horses for rabies for more than ten years. It is not a law "yet" in Tenn
  • Rabies can be deadly - vaccinate!!!
  • I vaccinated annually in the past but I hear rabies is rare. Should I vaccinate or not?
  • I live in rural WI and I would rather be safe than sorry. There are all kinds of critters out there
  • I would if recommended to by my Vet.
  • Yes, but not annually
  • Rabies is now a core vaccine. Would be crazy not to vaccinate against it!!
  • For the low cost od a vaccine why not protect your horse.
  • I follow my vet's advice -- some years, yes, some years, no.
  • every animal, every year, regardless
  • s essentially 100% fatality in humans - you need to protect yourself by vacinating your horses.
  • I routinely vaccinate for rabies...and it is in our area
  • I think it's stupid to take a risk by not vaccinating. there is no cure, only prevention.
  • That's why I vaccinate for rabies

About the Author

Megan Arszman

Megan Arszman received a Bachelor of Science In print journalism and equine science from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., and loves combining her love of horses, photography, and writing. In her “free time,” when she’s not busy working as a horse show secretary or riding her American Quarter Horses on her parents’ Indiana farm, she’s training and competing her Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Swedish Vallhund in dog agility and running.

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