Rabies vaccinations are required of all students. If you have not already taken the pre-exposure series, you must take it upon entering the School of Veterinary Medicine.
What You Should Know About the Rabies Vaccine
- Vaccination against rabies is mandatory for DVM students and for many graduate students and employees of the SVM. If you have not already been immunized, taking the vaccine at the earliest possible time should be given priority over other activities. The vaccine is administered here at SVM by medical personnel from the LSU Student Health Center, the first dose usually being administered during the week of orientation in August. For 2010, the dates are August 18, August 25, and September 8. These are the only dates that you will be able to receive the vaccine here at the SVM.
- At SVM we use RabAvert® Rabies Vaccine for Human Use. Click here for a pdf of the package insert.
- If you are a new student or employee and miss taking the series here during the scheduled sessions, you will have to go to the Student Health Center on campus to receive the doses. Contact me to make arrangements before going.
- Pre-exposure prophylaxis for rabies consists of a 3-dose series and the timing of these doses is critical for development of immunity. This means you must take EACH dose when it is scheduled. In emergency situations, we can make arrangements for you to take the vaccine at the Student Health Center. If you become ill during the series, contact Dr. T.S. Honigman at the SHC (225-578-6271) for advice.
- The cost of the vaccine varies from year to year; we have not received a firm quote for 2010, but we do not expect it to be less than $188 per dose, or $564 for the three-dose series. Please be prepared to pay by check (only) when you take the first dose. Make checks payable to “LSU SVM.” If necessary, arrangements to pay in installments can be made by contacting Gaye Gomila in the Office of Student & Academic Affairs.
- If you are now taking corticosteroids, if you have had any of these drugs in the last few weeks, or if you have an immunosuppressive illness, the rabies vaccine may not produce active immunity. Please seek advice from your physician on this, or speak with Dr. Honigman during the first vaccination session here at SVM; if necessary, special arrangements can be made for you to take the series at the SHC at a later time.
- Serious reactions to this vaccine are very rare, but as with all vaccines, it is not without some small risk. Therefore, you will be required to wait in the auditorium for 30 minutes following each injection. If you are an incoming first-year student, time for vaccines will be incorporated into the class schedules. If you are a graduate student or employee, please take into account this extra time needed and make arrangements accordingly.
- Mild side effects are fairly common. These are similar to those that are experienced with many vaccinations and are NOT a reason to discontinue taking the series. Do not be surprised if your arm is sore, reddened, or swollen at the injection site. You may also experience headache, muscle aches, or feel as if you are coming down with the flu. The discomfort generally lasts less than 24 hours and can usually be managed with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin).
- Routine booster doses are seldom considered necessary for veterinary students or veterinary personnel in Louisiana. Other parts of the country and other situations may have different recommendations, so check with me if you have already had the series and wonder if you need a booster.
If you have already completed the series prior to enrolling at LSU SVM, please send written proof of your immunization to:
Jared Granier, M.B.A.
Director of Admissions & Enrollment
Office of Student & Academic Affairs
LSU School of Veterinary Medicine
Baton Rouge, LA 70803