The immunogenicity and efficacy of two rabies vaccines in wild-caught, captive raccoons (Procyon lotor) were investigated. Raccoons were fed Ontario Slim (OS) baits containing a recombinant vaccinia virus-rabies glycoprotein (VRG) oral rabies vaccine, or they were given an intramuscular (IM) injection of IMRAB® 3 rabies vaccine. Blood samples collected before treatment and from weeks 1 to 16 posttreatment were assessed for the presence of rabies virus antibody (RVA). There were significantly more positive responders in the group that received an IM injection of IMRAB 3 (18/27) than in the group that consumed VRG in OS baits (VRG-OS; 4/ 26). There were no significant associations among age, sex, and seroconversion. Of those animals that mounted a humoral immune response to vaccination, RVA was first detected between weeks 1 and 5, with the majority of initial seroconversions detectable at week 2. A subsample of 50 raccoons (19 VRG-OS, 18 IMRAB 3, and 13 controls) from the longitudinal serology study was challenged with live raccoon variant rabies virus 442 days after initial treatment. There were significantly more survivors in the group that received IMRAB 3 (13/18) than in the VRG-OS (5/19) or control (2/13) groups. All 15 raccoons that demonstrated a serologic response survived challenge regardless of treatment. Of the 35 raccoons with no detectable serologic response, 30 (86%) succumbed to rabies virus infection (14/15 VRG-OS, 5/7 IMRAB 3, and 11/13 controls).
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