Summary of The Rabies Challenge Fund Duration of Immunity Study

Written by Jan on July 12, 2013 – 2:33 pm

I’m a great supporter of, and volunteer fundraiser for, the Rabies Challenge Fund.  Here are preliminary results of the current study.

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A study conducted according to the USDA Title 9 canine vaccine licensing standard, was begun more than five years ago. The purpose was to determine if the duration of immunity from commercially available rabies vaccines was longer than 3 years, with the goal of extending state-mandated rabies boosters for dogs to 5, and then 7 years.

The first rabies vaccine studied was selected based on the superior response it provided in the USDA challenge trials for licensing. Another licensed rabies vaccine was administered to a second, separate group of dogs 2 years after the first study began so that a minimum of two commercially available rabies vaccines would be tested.

The second vaccine selected is the one currently administered to a very high percentage of dogs. Both vaccines demonstrated excellent protection based on antibody testing for each of the first three study years. However, fewer than 30% of dogs in the first vaccine group, now five years since vaccination, had serum rabies antibody titer levels considered positive on the Rapid Fluorescent Focus Inhibition Test (RFFIT). (Note: RFFIT is the rabies titer standard established by the Centers for Disease Control within the USA [0.1 IU/mL] and the World Health Organization [0.5 IU/mL] for export to other rabies-free locations to be adequate to protect humans, not dogs, against rabies. There is no established standard for dogs, which means that the human standards must be extrapolated when assessing protection for other species.) Some of the dogs with low or no detected RFFIT antibody were further tested to determine if they had “immunologic memory”. This in vitro test shows whether memory is present or not, even in cases when serum antibody cannot be detected at a level considered to be protective. The results of this further testing indicated that most of the dogs vaccinated five years ago, even without a positive RFFIT, do have “immunologic memory”. As soon as a USDA licensed facility can be reserved, we plan to challenge some of those dogs with rabies virus to determine if the memory response demonstrated actually correlates with protection.

Our conclusion from studies with the initial rabies vaccine is that the immunity conferred by that product, and assessed by the in vitro RFFIT, was excellent for the first three years, but declined during the fourth year, and continued to drop during the fifth year. The second vaccine group, which is now three years from vaccination, will remain on study for at least two more years.

Principal Investigator, Dr. Ronald Schultz of the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, is preparing results of the study and details described above for scientific peer review and publication. That data will be made available to the public as soon as our paper has been accepted for publication. After completion of the peer-review process, it is our hope that this data will establish the world’s first canine rabies titer standard. If this data is further verified by challenge, it will provide a solid scientific base enabling states to incorporate titer clauses into their laws.

Related Information:

The Rabies Vaccine and Your Dog: Side Effects
Rabies Vaccination: 13 Ways to Vaccinate More Safely
Rabies Vaccination Caution: A Veterinarian Speaks Out
Rabies Vaccination Medical Exemptions for Unhealthy Dogs
AVMA Passes a Rabies Vaccination Waiver Recommendation
Does Your State Permit Rabies Vaccination Medical Exemptions?
Vaccination Reactions Can Mimic Disease Symptoms Rabies Vaccination: Caution! The Devil is in the Details

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Tags: dog, rabies, Rabies Challenge Fund, rabies shot, rabies vaccine, results, study
Posted under Rabies Shots, Titer Testing, Vaccination | 1 Comment » | Email This Post

The AVMA’s War Against Raw Diets for Pets

Written by Jan on July 26, 2012 – 6:18 pm

Jean Hofve, DVM

Jean Hofve, DVM, former Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, has written a must-read post concerning a proposed AVMA resolution opposing raw diets for pets to be voted on by the AVMA on August 3, 2012.  She refutes the arguments put forth by the AVMA and tells you everything you ever wanted to know about the safety of raw feeding.  Whether you are for or against raw feeding, or just on the fence, you’ll want to read this article. It was originally posted on her wonderful Little Big Cat website — which is not just for cats.  

Permission granted by Dr. Hofve to cross post.

8/8/12 update: Here’s the AVMA’s decision. It’s very disappointing. It’s more important now than ever to read this great article.   Read more »

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Tags: AVMA against raw food, cat, dog, feeding raw, prey diet, raw food
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Bordetella: Does Your Dog Really Need the Kennel Cough Vaccine?

Written by Jan on March 21, 2012 – 12:01 am

News from the World Small Animal Veterinary Association Vaccine Guideline’s Group: Vaccine Guidelines, page 11: “Canine respiratory
disease complex (kennel cough) is not a vaccine-preventable disease and the vaccine should only be used to help manage the disease.” That is, don’t waste your money.

Unfortunately, your veterinarian, kennel owner, trainer, day care provider or groomer says your dog should/must be vaccinated against kennel cough, but you’re trying not to over-vaccinate.

What should you do?

More and more, people with pets are finding another vet, kennel owner, day care provider or groomer — or keeping their pet at home!  Vaccination is a serious medical procedure with significant risks.  If that weren’t bad enough, the “kennel cough” vaccine is unlikely to prevent kennel cough! It can even produce kennel-cough like symptoms. The WSAVA Guidelines say, “Transient (3–10 days) coughing, sneezing, or nasal discharge may occur in a small percentage of vaccinates.” It can also cause a serious anaphylactoid reaction. Look up anaphylactoid. You won’t like it.

Regarding kennels, day care and grooming facilities: In general, if they have good ventilation and practice good hygiene, kennel cough shouldn’t even be an issue. Bordetella is not for dogs playing together in well-ventilated areas — like dog parks or backyards or living rooms. It’s for dogs in close quarters, like kennels. That’s why it’s called kennel cough!

Think of kennel cough as a canine cold, transmitted as human colds are transmitted — from an infected individual in close contact with an individual with compromised immunity.  Like a cold, it is also considered a mild self-limiting disease.  If humans can’t effectively be vaccinated against a cold, how can pets? A veterinarian friend uses an OTC remedy called B & T Cough and Bronchial Syrup to treat the cough.  For small dogs she uses the children’s variety.  See your vet for further treatment information.

If your service provider is afraid your dog will contract kennel cough at their establishment, offer to sign a waiver saying you’ve been informed of the risk and will waive liability if your pet falls ill. That should do it.  Should.  It’s often just liability at issue, not a question of health.

If the person insisting on the bordetella vaccine is afraid other dogs at their establishment will contract kennel cough from your unvaccinated dog, this person clearly doesn’t trust that the vaccinated dogs actually have immunity. If they don’t believe the vaccine is protective,  why insist that you or anyone else vaccinate?

Note: If you decide to give the vaccine, make sure it is the intranasal form, that is, given as nose drops, not injected.  And give the vaccine at least 2 weeks before contact with other dogs, for the sake of both your dog and other dogs.

Don’t take my word for any of this. Read what three vets and a PhD have to say about the bordetella vaccine:

World-renowned vaccination scientist, Dr. Ronald Schultz, says [emphasis mine]: “Many animals receive “kennel cough” vaccines that include Bordetella and CPI and/or CAV-2 every 6 to 9 months without evidence that this frequency of vaccination is necessary or beneficial. In contrast, other dogs are never vaccinated for kennel cough and disease is not seen. Read more »

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Tags: bordatella, bordetella, cough, dog, kennel cough, Vaccination, vaccine
Posted under Uncategorized, Vaccination | 66 Comments » | Email This Post

Why Vets Don’t Recognize Vaccine Reactions

Written by Jan on December 17, 2011 – 1:01 am

You take your perfectly healthy dog to the vet for “her shots.”  Early the next morning, she has a seizure — her first seizure ever.  You rush your dog back to the vet or an emergency clinic and ask if the seizure had something to do with the shot.  Odds are, the vet will tell you, No, it’s not the shot! She might a genetic disorder or possibly even a brain tumor. The timing is just a coincidence.

Or … your dog is suddenly having trouble walking after rabies vaccination. Or he suddenly becomes aggressive.  You ask your vet if the condition could be tied to the rabies shot.  No, it’s not possible, the vet says. He says has never heard of such a thing. But something tells you the condition and vaccine are related.

Of course, not all veterinarians are reluctant or unable to recognize and deal with vaccine reactions. In fact, the practices of vets trained in homeopathy, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, etc. often revolve around treating reactions caused by vaccination.  And, happily, many conventional vets are becoming increasingly worried about over-vaccination and vaccine reactions. But these vets are not the norm.

Many people have written me that they have had to fight with their vet to even get a vaccine reaction considered and noted in their dog’s or cat’s file.  The vet doesn’t even want to call the vaccine maker to report or inquire about the reaction.  After you do extensive Internet research, your suspicions grow. You see another vet, or maybe post on this blog looking for answers or you e-mail me. You wonder: why are vets so reluctant to admit that a vaccine (or vaccine combo) caused a reaction?  Here are some potential reasons why. Read more »

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Tags: bad reactions to shots, cat, dog, rabies shot reaction, Vaccination, vaccine reactions, vets
Posted under Uncategorized, Vaccination, Vaccine Reactions, Veterinarians | 45 Comments » | Email This Post

Analyzing New Vaccination Recommendations for Dogs

Written by Jan on November 15, 2011 – 1:01 am

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recently issued its 2011 Canine Vaccination Guidelines.  The 2003 report, revised in 2006 and 2007, caused quite a stir.  Many veterinarians and pet parents didn’t trust the findings –and still don’t — even though the report was backed by scientific studies and written by 14 well-respected experts. Change can be scary.

The report’s recommendation to eliminate or limit many unnecessary and/or dangerous vaccines, and to give the important “core vaccines” no more often than every three years (NOT annually!), was and is unpalatable to many practices.  It could represent a huge drop in income.

Though veterinary organizations and every North American vet school changed their vaccination protocols to accommodate the report’s findings, most clinics continue to over-vaccinate.  Read more »

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Tags: bad reactions, booster, dog, dog shots, over-vaccination, rabies, recommendations, symptoms, titer test, Vaccination, vaccination schedule, vaccine, vaccine reactions
Posted under Uncategorized, Vaccination, Vaccine Reactions | 23 Comments » | Email This Post