Cheap rabies vaccine clinics… good vs bad
Everyone knows rabies clinics are available. They are held at various locations where people can get their pets vaccinated against rabies at very low cost. The good aspect of these clinics is that some animals will be vaccinated that otherwise would not be. The downside of rabies clinics is that it is not the same as a normal vaccine appointment with a veterinarian. Rabies clinics are usually “assembly line” vaccination – the goal is to get as many animals vaccinated as quickly and efficiently as possible. The animals are not given a physical examination, no history is considered and there is no discussion with owners about preventive medicine or other problems. Therefore, there is no opportunity to detect and address other health issues, which is (in our opinion) the most important aspect of routine vaccination appointments. There is also no opportunity for vaccination against other important diseases or to address parasite testing and prevention.
Rabies vaccine clinics can be beneficial in situations where some people are unable (or unwilling) to pay for a normal veterinary examination and complete vaccination. Anything that increases the number of animals vaccinated against this devastating disease is useful. However, rabies clinics can also compromise the health of animals (and potentially their owners) if it is the only routine veterinary contact. Clinics can also end up hurting owners financially in situations where early disease would have been detected and addressed during a regular vaccine appointment. Often, diseases are much more difficult and expensive to treat when they are more advanced.
So, while it’s obviously tempting to take the cheapest option available, if you can afford a regular veterinary appointment, reconsider just going to a rabies vaccine clinic. A trip to your regular veterinarian will be better for your pet and you.