Rabies is a progressively fatal viral disease affecting a wide variety of warm-blooded animals and human beings. With cattle being major part of Indian livestock population, rabies can result in significant financial losses. Immunization of livestock vulnerable to exposure is the best way to control rabies. The present study was undertaken to investigate the efficacy of a rabies pre-exposure prophylactic vaccine administered through different routes and to sequentially monitor the levels of rabies virus-neutralizing antibody (RVNA) titers in cattle. Thirty cattle were divided into five groups of six animals each. Group I and III animals were immunized with 1 mL and 0.2 mL of rabies vaccine through intramuscular (IM) and intradermal (ID) routes, respectively, on day 0, with a booster dose on day 21; Group II and IV animals were immunized with 1 mL and 0.2 mL of rabies vaccine, respectively, without the booster dose; unvaccinated animals served as a control (Group V). Serum samples were collected on days 0, 14, 28, and 90 to estimate RVNA titers using the rapid fluorescent focus inhibition test (RFFIT). The titers were above an adequate level (≥0.5 IU/mL) on day 14 and maintained up to 90 days in all animals administered the rabies vaccine through the IM and ID route with or without a booster dose. The study indicated that both routes of vaccination are safe and effective in providing protection against rabies. Hence, both routes can be considered for pre-exposure prophylaxis. However, the ID route proved to be more economical due to its dose-sparing effect.
Keywords: ID; IM; RFFIT; RVNA; cattle; pre-exposure prophylactic vaccine.