One of the primary reasons ferrets were outlawed in so many areas of the United States was the lack of an accepted rabies vaccination and quarantine period for ferrets. That all began to change with the acceptance of IMRAB 3 for use in ferrets. This led to significant changes throughout the US and the broad acceptance of ferrets as companion animals.
The Ferret Association of Connecticut recommends that all ferrets be vaccinated annually for rabies. While the chance of exposure to a pet generally kept indoors is next to nil, the general public’s fear of rabies and the reality that human health concerns will always take precedence over that of an animal call for pet owners to take all precautions. While some states and municipalities will allow a quarantine of an unvaccinated animal, that is not necessarily guaranteed. Even if it is, the quarantine may not occur at the owner’s home necessitating out-of-pocket costs to the owner. The cost of an annual rabies vaccination for your pets is a small price to pay to help protect your pet and your pocket.
As of 1/1/2002 only IMRAB 3 (Merial, Inc.) is accepted for use in ferrets. The recommendation is for 1 ml administered subcutaneously by a licensed veterinarian. The first injection should be given at 3 months of age; then annually thereafter.
Many states do NOT recognize vaccinations that are not administered by a state-licensed veterinarian. Connecticut is one of those states that do not allow “self vaccination.”
Detailed information on recommended rabies protocol can be found in the Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control, 2001 and Recommendations for Parenteral Immunization Procedures which indicates that all vaccines be administered by a licensed veterinarian and in accordance with the specified immunization procedures.
For the most recent and up-to-date information, we recommend you visit the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) website and search on ‘ferret.”
For information on Connecticut, you can visit the State of Connecticut, Department of Agriculture, State Veterinarian’s Office website for statistics on rabies in Connecticut.