Changing Rabies Vaccination Laws

Written by Jan on June 25, 2009 – 12:01 am

Kris Christine, Founder of the Rabies Challenge Fund with renowned vaccination expert Dr. Jean Dodds,  is the person most responsible for changing rabies laws from one or two years to three in every state (but not every locale yet).  Brava Kris!  Her passion for this began when her beautiful dog Meadow died from an injection site fibrosarcoma after a rabies shot.

Here is an excerpt from a letter Kris recently sent trying to prevent a change in the law in Muncie, Indiana, from three years to one!  This move is clearly to bring in more revenue with more frequent licensing, as the science in no way supports it.

This letter has valuable information we all should read — especially if you’re living in an area requiring shots more often than the national standard of every three years.

“… recommendations of the American Veterinary Medical Association [1] and the Center for Disease Control’s National Association of State Public Health Veterinarian’s 2008 Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control advise that: “Vaccines used in state and local rabies control programs should have at least a 3-year duration of immunity…….. No laboratory or epidemiologic data exist to support the annual or biennial administration of 3- or 4-year vaccines following the initial series.”

A regressive ordinance revision requiring annual rabies boosters for dogs and cats is medically unnecessary and scientifically unfounded.  According to the American Animal Hospital Association, “The minimum DOI [duration of immunity] for killed rabies vaccine based on challenge studies is 3 years; based on antibody titers, it is considered to be up to 7 years..” [2] 

More frequent vaccination than is required to fully immunize an animal will not achieve further disease protection.  Redundant annual rabies shots needlessly expose dogs and cats to the risk of adverse effects while obligating residents to pay unnecessary veterinary medical fees, which could violate … consumer protection laws and obligate veterinarians to engage in unprofessional conduct (Code 25-1) by administering medically unwarranted rabies vaccines in order for their clients to comply with the amended ordinance.  The American Veterinary Medical Association’s 2001 Principles of Vaccination state that “Unnecessary stimulation of the immune system does not result in enhanced disease resistance, and may increase the risk of adverse post-vaccination events.”   

It is recognized that most, if not all, currently licensed annual rabies vaccines given annually are actually the 3-year vaccine relabeled for annual use — Colorado State University’s Small Animal Vaccination Protocol for its veterinary teaching hospital states: “Even with rabies vaccines, the label may be misleading in that a three year duration of immunity product may also be labeled and sold as a one year duration of immunity product.”  According to Dr. Ronald Schultz of the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, whose canine vaccine studies form a large part of the scientific base for the 2003 and 2006 American Animal Hospital Association’s (AAHA) Canine Vaccine Guidelines, as well as the World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s 2007 Vaccine Guidelines, “There is no benefit from annual rabies vaccination and most one year rabies products are similar or identical to the 3-year products with regard to duration of immunity and effectiveness.”[3]  

Immunologically, the rabies vaccine is the most potent of the veterinary vaccines and associated with significant adverse reactions such as polyneuropathy “resulting in muscular atrophy, inhibition or interruption of neuronal control of tissue and organ function, incoordination, and weakness,” [4] auto-immune hemolytic anemia, [5] autoimmune diseases affecting the thyroid, joints, blood, eyes, skin, kidney, liver, bowel and central nervous system; anaphylactic shock; aggression; seizures; epilepsy; and fibrosarcomas at injection sites are all linked to the rabies vaccine. [6] [7] It is medically unsound for this vaccine to be given more often than is necessary to maintain immunity. 

A “killed” vaccine, the rabies vaccine contains adjuvants to enhance the immunological response.  In 1999, the World Health Organization “classified veterinary vaccine adjuvants as Class III/IV carcinogens with Class IV being the highest risk,” [8] and the results of a study published in the August 2003 Journal of Veterinary Medicine documenting fibrosarcomas at the presumed injection sites of rabies vaccines stated, “In both dogs and cats, the development of necrotizing panniculitis at sites of rabies vaccine administration was first observed by Hendrick & Dunagan (1992).” [9] According to the 2003 AAHA Guidelines, “…killed vaccines are much more likely to cause hypersensitivity reactions (e.g., immune-mediated disease).” [10]

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Learn more about rabies vaccine dangers at our Rabies Vaccine blog or our Rabies Vaccine Information Page.

References:

[1] American Veterinary Medical Association, 2007 RABIES VACCINATION PROCEDURES
[2] American Animal Hospital Association Canine Vaccine Task Force. 2003 Canine Vaccine Guidelines, Recommendations, and Supporting Literature, p.13
[3] Schultz, Ronald D.; What Everyone Needs to Know about Canine Vaccines, October 2007,  
[4]Dodds, W. Jean Vaccination Protocols for Dogs Predisposed to Vaccine Reactions, The Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, May/June 2001, Vol. 37, pp. 211-214
[5] Duval D., Giger U.Vaccine-Associated Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia in the Dog, Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 1996; 10:290-295
[6] American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Executive Board, April 2001, Principles of Vaccination, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Volume 219, No. 5, September 1, 2001.
[7] Vascelleri, M. Fibrosarcomas at Presumed Sites of Injection in Dogs: Characteristics and Comparison with Non-vaccination Site Fibrosarcomas and Feline Post-vaccinal Fibrosarcomas; Journal of Veterinary Medicine, Series A August 2003, vol. 50, no. 6, pp. 286-291.
[8] IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans: Volume 74, World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Feb. 23-Mar. 2, 1999, p. 24, 305, 310.
[9] Vascelleri, M. Fibrosarcomas at Presumed Sites of Injection in Dogs: Characteristics and Comparison with Non-vaccination Site Fibrosarcomas and Feline Post-vaccinal Fibrosarcomas; Journal of Veterinary Medicine, Series A August 2003, vol. 50, no. 6, pp. 286-291.
[10] American Animal Hospital Association Canine Vaccine Task Force. 2003 Canine Vaccine Guidelines, Recommendations, and Supporting Literature, 28pp. and ibid. 2006 AAHA Canine Vaccine Guidelines, Revised, 28 pp.

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4 Comments to “Changing Rabies Vaccination Laws”


  1. Doug Says:

    Very informative site.  Our dog Sadi passed away from AIHA caused by the rabies Vaccination.  I was sure it was because of the potentacy of the 3 year vaccine, reading this I see the one year may have caused the same reaction.  Very sad situation to deal with.

  2. Jan Says:

    I’m so sorry for Sadi. That’s a horrible disease. It is well known to be a reaction to the rabies shot. I hope you’ll support the Rabies Challenge Fund’s work. http://www.rabieschallengefund.org It’s our pet’s best hope.

  3. lindsay Says:

    I live in Vermont.  I was very disturbed to learn my 5 pound Yorkie is given the same does rabies vaccine as a St Bernard.  This can not be healthy.  I would like to lobby to change this law.  Any ideas and direction would be helpful.
    Thank You

  4. Toxed2loss Says:

    Hi all,
    I’m severely disabled due to pesticide poisoning. Because of it I’m extremely chemically sensitive, including to toxins that resolve out of other people or pets. I want to go to Texas for my son’s wedding, but need a safe rabies vac for my service dog. Can anyone suggest one with adjuvants that are not toxic! Or without adjuvants?
    Aluminum is a neurotoxin, too. (Imrab3TF). My service dog had a severe reaction to her first puppy P/D, so I don’t want to risk her health either.

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