I had heard though, that the rabies vaccine really doesn't prevent an animal from getting the disease if bitten. I actually want to go so far as to say that I heard for the most part, it doesn't prevent rabies, that it's only something like a few to several out of a hundred will not get the disease and most are euthanized. I'm off to google to check, because I could be wrong, but it's what I heard.
I can't find anything on Google. It doesn't say it's ineffective, but I'm not finding anything that says it's really effective either. Just that a vaccinated horse has to be monitored by a vet for six months and given a series of rabies vaccines immediately after the bite, and that an unvaccinated bitten horse needs to be reported to the "officials" and the "officials" decide what to do. Options are 45 days of close supervision and the series of vaccines or immediate euthanasia.
And because I was curious, there were three reported rabies cases in bats [the biggest carrier here] in 2012 in Washington, as of July, and 11 rabid bats in 2011. Some 5-10% of bats examined were rabid, but all in sick or injured bats, but less than one percent of all wild bats are rabid [I'm assuming that boils down to healthy VS unhealthy].
I don't know why, but I've always found this very interesting. I, personally, have not vaccinated my horse for rabies and don't intend to. I just don't feel it's likely enough to happen.
Quoted from the WA DOH.
The primary animals that carry rabies in the northwest United States are bats. Between 5-10% of bats submitted for testing are found to be rabid. Bats tested for rabies are more likely to test positive for rabies because they tend to be sick and injured bats; less than 1% of all bats in the wild are infected with rabies. Rabid bats have been found in almost every county in Washington.
There have been two cases of human rabies identified in Washington during the last 20 years. In 1995, a four-year-old child died of rabies four weeks after a bat was found in her bedroom; and in 1997, a 64-year-old man was diagnosed with rabies. These two Washington residents were infected with bat rabies virus.
During the last 20 years, several domestic animals in Washington have been diagnosed with rabies. In 2002, a rabid cat was identified in Walla Walla County with bat rabies. In 1994, a llama in King County died after becoming infected with a bat rabies virus, and in 1992, a horse in Benton County died of rabies. The last suspected rabid dog was identified in Pierce County in 1987. In 2007, a rabid puppy imported from another country passed through Washington on its way to another state.