By Jennifer Evans

The Boston Public Health Commission knows that pets are family. So we want to make sure you know that this spring, you can bring your dog or cat to local clinics for low-cost rabies shots and dog licensing. The first one is tomorrow, March 9, from 10 to 2 at the Animal Rescue League of Boston in the South End. Here is a complete schedule of clinics around the city

Rabies is a preventable disease caused by a virus. It is most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal and most cases of rabies occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes.  Although we don’t often see them during the day, Boston has plenty of these critters!  Any dog or cat that is bitten or scratched by a wild animal could be exposed to rabies.

In addition to keeping your pet healthy and safe from rabies, vaccinating also keeps people safe. Pets are vaccinated to prevent them from getting infected with rabies from wildlife and transmitting it to humans. Even the nicest dog or cat can bite if they are scared or startled. In 2012, the Boston Public Health Commission received over five hundred reports of many different types of animal bites treated at Boston hospitals. Here’s a breakdown of Boston residents bitten by cats or dogs:


All dogs, cats, and ferrets in Boston should be vaccinated against rabies in case they are exposed to a potentially rabid animal. Vaccinated pets keep their owners safe too!

For more information about rabies, check out our fact sheet here or the CDC’s website with more information about keeping your pet safe and healthy.

Jennifer is a public health veterinarian with the Communicable Disease Control Division at BPHC.