The safety and efficaciousness of modern cell-culture vaccines produced according to WHO  standards (see here) currently used for parenteral immunization of dogs are widely recognised. It is therefore not necessary to conduct a serological confirmation of vaccination success. However, in some situations specific laboratory analyses may be indicated to examine sera from the target species (i.e. dogs) for rabies antibodies, specifically to measure antibody levels induced by vaccination. This may be necessary when evaluating the success of novel strategies (e.g. oral vaccination) and to ensure correct administration and maintenance of cold chain, and it is required for international movements of dogs. Click here to read more on monitoring and indicators of success of oral vaccination campaigns. It should be kept in mind that the collection of samples for these analyses can be operationally difficult and generally requires substantial investment in labour and capital: samples need to be collected pre- and post-vaccination at specific intervals and standard laboratory analyses (measuring neutralizing antibodies) are costly and currently can only be carried out in specialized laboratories (i.e. WHO Collaborative Centers for Rabies and OIE  reference laboratories for rabies, listed here). Because of the expense of serological surveys, it is a much better investment to buy and use modern efficacious vaccines than risk jeopardizing campaigns with poorer quality vaccines produced by manufacturers not recognized by international regulatory agencies.
- Photo courtesy of the Serengeti Carnivore Disease Project