Rabies Vaccination: 13 Ways to Vaccinate More Safely

Written by Jan on September 23, 2010 – 12:01 am

Peaches Displaying Her Rabies Vaccine Reaction

Note: this is an expanded version of an article by Jan Rasmusen previously published by DogsNaturallyMagazine.com

Animal Control sends a notice stating that your dog’s rabies vaccination is due. Some of us will vaccinate readily. Because it’s legally mandated, it must be safe, right? Besides, what choice do we have?

Others of us panic, desperate to avoid the shot at any cost. We remember what happened the last time our dog had a rabies vaccination. We wonder, will our dog survive another?

World-renowned pet vaccination scientist, Dr. Jean Dodds, wrote recently: “Rabies vaccines are the most common group of biological products identified in adverse event reports received by the USDA’s Center for Veterinary Biologics (CVB).”

An adverse reaction to a rabies vaccine may exact a high price – to your dog’s health and your wallet. Here’s what you need to know to make vaccinating your dog safer:

1. Learn to recognize adverse reactions. Short-term reactions include vomiting, facial swelling, fever, lethargy, circulatory shock, loss of consciousness and even death. (If your pet appears distressed, contact your vet immediately.) Reactions occurring days or months after vaccination can be difficult to recognize. They include:

• Fibrocarcinomas (cancer) at the injection site
• Seizures and epilepsy
• Autoimmune disease
• Chronic digestive problems
• Allergies
• Skin diseases
• Muscle weakness or atrophy
• Pica (eating inappropriate materials, including feces)
• Behavioral changes (aggression, separation anxiety, compulsive behaviors and more)

If you suspect a health or behavior problem may be connected to a vaccine, you may have to convince your vet. It’s common to hear “it couldn’t be the shot” or “a reaction like that is impossible.” Even the drug’s manufacturer (to whom you should immediately report the reaction — giving them the brand and lot# — may deny the connection. Insist on seeing the product’s package insert,  viewable on-line or from your vet. Also know that long-term reactions aren’t usually documented or even studied. Note: a vaccine reaction, especially one supported by your vet, may entitle you to compensation for medical expenses from the drug manufacturer.

2. Vaccinate healthy dogs only. Vaccinating an unhealthy animal can exacerbate illness and do irreparable harm. Also, immunity may not develop after vaccination because of the dog’s compromised immune system. This is especially dangerous as you may presume immunity that does not exist. Pets with autoimmune disease or cancer are obviously “not healthy,” but neither are pets suffering from stress from a move or surgery, a virus or infection, or allergies or skin problems or any other condition compromising health. (Never allow your pet to be vaccinated during surgery.)

3. Ask for a rabies vaccination exemption.  If your dog has documented health problems, ask your vet to apply for a rabies vaccination extension or exemption. Many localities permit them even if state law doesn’t specifically allow them. If your vet won’t apply for an exemption, go elsewhere. You may want to contact a holistic vet who may better understand the dangers of vaccinating an unhealthy animal. If local law forbids exemptions, change the law. Numerous states are in the process of adding exemptions to their laws. Click this link to check your state’s rabies law and pending exemptions.

4. Don’t vaccinate against rabies within three weeks of other vaccinations or medication for parasites. Multiple vaccines given at once greatly increase the chance of reactions.  Multiple vaccines are especially risky for small dogs.

5. Make sure your dog gets the correct vaccine. If you’re vaccinating a puppy, make sure your vet administers a one-year vaccine initially (as late as legally possible) and a three-year vaccine (or whatever is required in your area) thereafter. The one-year and three-year vaccines are virtually identical medically – but not under the law.  A one-year shot must be followed by re-vaccination a year later. Note: the one-year shot is not safer than the three-year (except that it may contain fewer adjuvants).

6. Vaccinate at the safest time. Vaccinate in the morning, early in the week, and don’t leave the area for at least an hour if possible. Watch for reactions for at least the next 48 hours. Reactions occurring when the closest vet’s office is closed can prove disastrous, even fatal.

7. Tell your vet you want a Thimerosol-free vaccine. Thimerosol (mercury) in vaccines has been linked to adverse reactions. Merial, for one, makes one- and three-year thimersol-free rabies vaccines: IMRAB® 1 TF and IMRAB® 3 TF. Make sure you see “TF” on the label. (If your vet doesn’t carry the vaccine, you may have to vet shop to find the vaccine you want.  You might also ask why the vet why he/she doesn’t carry it.)

8. Find a vet trained in homeopathy to vaccinate your dog.  Certain homeopathic remedies given before, during and after vaccinating can lessen the chance of ill effects from vaccination. Click the link to find vet referral lists.

9. Report all vaccine reactions to your vet and make sure they’re recorded in your pet’s file. Have the vet sign relevant pages, get copies and put them in a safe place. (Vets lose records, retire and move away.) Also report the reaction to the drug’s manufacturer. (You’ll need the vaccine lot number.) Vets are notoriously bad at reporting reactions, but exemptions to rabies vaccination and drug safety require documentation.

10. Don’t vaccinate within a week of travel. Pets experiencing reactions on route can die for lack of immediate medical assistance.  (Find a list of emergency clinics by area at http://www.vetsnearyou.com/ml2/?v=352875029&u=0880F1AAC5EF9BA40210818080F807184B&gclid=CKOmmcXvm6QCFQY-bAodawLaEg  (I cannot guarantee the clinics’ expertise, but at least this is a place to start.)

11. Keep copies of vaccination records and titer tests in your car(s) and license tags on your dog’s collar or harness. Otherwise, you may be forced to re-vaccinate if your pet bites someone, runs away and is taken to a shelter or if you have to board your pet unexpectedly.

12. Do not administer a rabies vaccine yourself. It will not satisfy legal requirements and you’ll have to have a vet vaccinate again. You will also be unprepared to deal with a potentially life-threatening reaction.  Similarly, a vet’s office may likely be a safer place to get the vaccine than a mobile clinic.

13. Support the Rabies Challenge Fund.  World-renowned scientists, W. Jean Dodds, DVM, and Ronald D. Schultz, PhD, are working as volunteers to increase the interval between rabies boosters by proving that the vaccine gives immunity, first, for five years, and then for seven years. (The study is in year four now.) They’re also working to establish a blood “titer standard” to provide a scientific basis to avoid unnecessary boosters with a simple blood test. This nonprofit group is supported solely by dog lovers and dog groups.

Before the next notice from Animal Control arrives, do your homework. A little time spent learning about the rabies vaccine can mean the difference between your dog’s wellness and serious illness.

Note: a veterinarian/author who specializes in over-vaccination issues read this article and wanted to add a few points.  Click here to learn what this veterinarian says about preventing vaccine reactions.


Related Posts

Questions to Ask Before Vaccinating Your Dog or Cat
What to Do When Your Dog Has a Vaccine Reaction
Does Your State Permit Rabies Vaccination Medical Exemptions?
Rabies Vaccination: Caution! The Devil is in the Details
Vaccinating Unhealthy Pets: Beware Reactions & Vaccine Failure
Vaccinating Dogs: 10 Steps to Eliminating Unnecessary Shots
Vaccinating Small Dogs: Risks Vets Aren’t Revealing


Read more about Peaches and her skin disease caused by rabies vaccine reaction (called Ischemic Dermatopathy).

Tags: dog, dogs, preventing reactions, rabbies, rabies exemptions, rabies shot, rabies vaccination, rabies vaccine, reactions to the rabies vaccine
Posted under Preventing Vaccine Reactions, Rabies Shots, Uncategorized, Vaccination | 93 Comments » Email This Post

93 Comments to “Rabies Vaccination: 13 Ways to Vaccinate More Safely”

  1. Jan Says:

    Stephanie, thanks for writing. I’m happy to hear a happy ending for once.

    I wonder if I might ask you a favor? Please sign our petition (and share it and post it around) at Change.org — http://www.change.org/petitions/veterinarians-fully-inform-us-before-vaccinating-our-dogs-and-cats We wants vets to give us more information before vaccinating. It’s posted by people like us who have experienced vaccine reactions and who weren’t warned that such terrible things might happen. You could post a short version of your story as a “reason for signing” there.

    And please post it around and ask friends to do the same. We all need to work together.

    Also, if you would, let’s post your story at our new not-for-profit website all about vaccination. Just expand what you wrote here a little (or send it as is) and send a photo and your permission to post to me at dogs4dogs @ aol.com (omit the spaces).

  2. Kelly Says:

    My 6 year old boxer had her puppy shots and in the last of the series, she had a bad reaction where her face swelled up and she had to be taken to the emergency room. Fast forward to her 1 year shots, I was super nervous about giving them, but the vet would not work with me, or write me an exemption. For the past 5 years, I switch vets every time they pressure me too hard to vaccinate my dog.

    Well, I gave in last week and allowed her to get a rabies vaccine. I warned of the terrible reactions she has had in the past, so they “pre-treated” her. While she didnt get the facial swelling, I did notice a lump about the size of an egg where the shot was given. I called the vet and she told me to bring the dog back. I did and the vet determined it was swelling (not fluid) heart rate and blood pressure was fine.

    Now it 5 days later and that lump is still there. Ive googled the hell out of it and I cannot find anything about lumps that appear immediately (or within an hour) and do not go away. All I can find is information about lumps that appear a few days later, are hard, and the size of peas or marbles. This one is much larger and soft and squishy.

    Can you help me with some search words? I’m kind of freaking out.

    Oh yeah, and I am moving to Arizona in 6 week for my job. I will be “legal” for the next 3 years, but what after that? I am not vaccinating my dog ever again. As far as I can tell, there are not medical exeptions in Arizona (not that I have been able to get any vet here in Ohio to do it for me), do I just have live outside the law?

    Thanks for any input you may have.

  3. Jan Says:

    Kelly, you can relax for a while. Dr. Ron Schultz, the top expert in the field, says to wait for up to two months and then get a biopsy if the lump is still there. Where do you live now? I may know a vet who can help you. Or maybe you’d like a phone consult about it. Consults are generally pretty inexpensive.

    In the meantime, please report the reaction to the drug maker. http://truth4pets.org/reporting-reactions/ They may authorize a biopsy if the lump doesn’t go away. It’s worth a try. Also, get copies of all your documents to take them to Arizona. Make sure the vaccine reactions are in all files.

    I have a new website that is all about vaccination. I hope you’ll check it out. http://www.truth4pets.org

    I have also posted a petition. Each signature will send an email to officials in the veterinary community asking them to start stop enabling over-vaccination and to give us access to reaction reports. Please sign it and share it far and wide. http://www.change.org/petitions/veterinarians-fully-inform-us-before-vaccinating-our-dogs-and-cats

    After you move, write again and I’ll tell you how to change the Arizona law regarding exemptions. Laws have changed in 16 states and we’ll keep at them.

  4. Kelly Says:

    Hi Jan,

    Thanks for all of the infomation. I signed the petition last night before I posted. I will double check that my name is really on it.

    I will report the reaction to the manufacturer.

    Right now, I live in Columbus, Ohio. If you have any recommendations, I love to hear them.

    How do I get my vet to add the reaction to her file if the vet doesnt believe its due to the vaccine? When I took the dog back, she said the lump is probably due to the benedryl and steriod shot she got as a “pretreatment” I find that counter intuitive – espeically when my dog has had allerigic reactions to vaccines in the past.

    I will let you know when I get to Arizona. I hate that I have to own my dog illegally. I am a very responsible owner, the dog is fed, exercised, and pretty much spoiled rotten, but people think I am neglectful for not vaccinating her. Its maddening that I am not allowed make the desicisons regarding her care. I will help when I get there. I am all for public safety, but I think we really need to rethink the dog vaccination schedule for all dogs – even the ones who have no apparent reactions to the vaccines. Ill do what I can to get the law changed in Arizona.

  5. Jan Says:

    Kelly, it is your vet’s responsibility to report the reaction if it could possibly be due to vaccination. It must also be recorded in the dog’s file. The USDA threshold is possibility, not absolute certainty. And why would the vet give the shot in the same spot as the vaccine? And furthermore, there’s no evidence that the pretreatment does any good.

    An injection-site lump is a common reaction, and your vet surely knows this. I don’t know any vets in Columbus but you might check out the Vets tab at http://www.truth4pets.org

    Thanks for signing the petition. Please tell all your friends and family, post it on Facebook, etc.

    And don’t worry about your dog. It’s likely the lump will disappear. Again, write me if it’s not gone in a month.

  6. Cindy S. Says:

    Please,I have to ask for your advice. I had my 15 y/o 4lb Chihuahua go in for her check up & they told it was time for her rabies vaccine. She was on Enalapril for her heart they prescribed a few years ago & doing fine. She had the Vaccine at around 12 noon & seemed fine the rest of the day,ate all her dinner & appeared ok when I tucked her in & went to bed at midnight. However, the next morning at 7:30am I found her dead:'( She obviously had a seizure as her tongue was out, jaw locked down & teeth peirced through. She had also lost control of her bowels & it was clear she had been seizing by the pattern left in it. This just happened yesterday & we are so very sad & tears keep falling. I loved this little dog so much,she was shy & very sweet.
    Does this sound suspicious for a reaction to the Rabies vaccine, or could it have been a stroke? cjs

  7. Jan Says:

    Cindy, your story breaks my heart. You ask, was it the vaccine? Your dog gets it at noon and is dead the next morning?
    But as they say: when you hear hoofbeats, think horses not zebras.

    Could it have been a stroke? Anything is possible. Or maybe the stress of the vaccine caused a stroke. In any event, make sure the possible reaction is reported. That’s the only way things will change. http://truth4pets.org/reporting-reactions/

    You’re probably not ready to watch this yet — it will make you cry even more — but I just did a video on the horrible reactions dogs and cats can have to vaccines. When you’re ready, let me know. Join us in our fight. http://truth4pets.org/2012/07/vaccine-reactions/

    I lost my dog last month to a reaction to a vaccine given years ago. Few things hurt as much. I am not alone.

  8. Courtney Says:

    I’m hoping someone can give me some advice. My 15 month old APBT is allergic to everything. He has food allergies, outdoor allergies, he even got horrible hives after playing on a new area rug. Even though he’s barely over a year old, we’ve all ready had to deal with hot spots, ear infections, hives, etc. After trial and error, he now is on daily Benadryl, Allerg-3 fish oil supplements, Yucca Intensive, and coconut oil as well as a limited ingredient/whole food diet. Fortunately, he’s been doing great with this regimine! But now I’m worried. He had his 1st rabies vaccine as a puppy and didn’t have any adverse reactions…but anyone who deals with dog allergies knows that they don’t appear until the 2nd exposure. He’s due for his rabies vaccine (which will only be his 2nd one) at the end of the month and I am terrified he’ll have a reaction. He’s allergic to everything else so why not a vaccine? UGH! Is there anything I can do to PREVENT a reaction when he gets his shot? I’m scared of the “wait-and-see-what-happens” approach. My husband and I don’t have any human children – this boy is my world! I’d be devastated if anything happened to him. Thank you!

  9. Jan Says:

    Courtney, severe allergies should qualify your dog for an exemption. Check out http://www.dogs4dogs.com/rabies-laws to see if your state offers exemptions. You may need to find a vet who understands reactions to find a vet who will ask for the exemption. Find a holistic vet at http://www.truth4pets.org/vets

    If you can’t find a local vet who understands, check out this article: https://www.dogs4dogs.com/blog/2010/09/23/rabies-vaccination-12-ways-to-vaccinate-more-safely/ But remember, you can stand your ground and change the law if need be. That’s how laws are changed.

    Where do you live?

  10. Courtney Says:

    Unfortunately, I live in Arizona which does not allow for medical exemptions and where titers aren’t considered acceptable. But I will do everything I can to help try and change the laws! I’m going to have to dig into this further. It’s absurd to me that I would have to risk my boy’s safety for a vaccine that he may not even need! What’s with the mercury in vaccines anyway? If mercury-free options are available, whether it’s for dogs or humans, why would we continue to use mercury? I don’t understand. But at least I know mercury-free options are available. I’ll be calling my vet tomorrow to ask about this. Thank you!

  11. maryanne Says:

    I have a 4 month old Westie and had her rabbies shot given this past wednesday. She now has a hard lump just over her right hip. Could this be from the vacine. I plan to call the vet tomorrow and report this.

  12. Jan Says:

    Maryanne, it is almost certainly from the vaccine. That’s where the shot is given. Make sure you report the reaction and that it goes into your dog’s file. Expert Dr. Ron Schultz says to take action if it’s still there in 2 months, although you might want to do something sooner. It will probably just go away, but watch for changes. Rarely, an injection-site tumor can form. Rarely! Don’t obsess! Just watch it.

    If you want to learn more about reactions, read: http://truth4pets.org/2012/07/vaccine-reactions/

  13. Lacie's Rabies Vaccination Update - Maltese Dogs Forum : Spoiled Maltese Forums Says:

    […] than this one. I just did a quick search. That's the one I usually post along with Jan's: How to Vaccinate Against Rabies More Safely | Truth4Dogs __________________ http://www.myladysdogbows.com/ […]

  14. Final Shots tomorrow - Page 2 - Maltese Dogs Forum : Spoiled Maltese Forums Says:

    […] they don't carry it, find a vet who will. Thimerosal In Rabies Vaccines | Dogs Naturally Magazine How to Vaccinate Against Rabies More Safely | Truth4Dogs When the rabies vaccine should be given depends on your state law. In Florida it is required by 20 […]

  15. Beware: side effects of rabies shots | Have dog blog will travel Says:

    […] Note: a veterinarian/author who specializes in over-vaccination issues read this article and wanted to add a few points.  Click here to learn what this veterinarian says about preventing vaccine reactions. […]

  16. Michelle Says:

    All this information was both interesting and heartbreaking. My Maltese Coconut is due for her rabies vaccine. Actually overdue by a year. She had a bad reaction when she received the rabies and bordetella combo and I was thankful it was taken care of quickly and she is ok but I refused to give her any shots since then. Rabies is mandatory in NJ and the vet is pressuring me. I am so scared of vaccine but also afraid of rabies since NJ has seen a spike in cases already so far. Any advice is appreciated!
    Thank you,
    Coconut’s worried mother

  17. Jan Says:

    Michelle, you are right to be concerned. First, your dog should never have gotten the rabies vaccine with any other medication. Second, experts say Bordetella rarely works and is dangerous.

    Please read this: http://truth4pets.org/question-before-vaccination/

    The good news is that NJ allows rabies exemptions. A good vet will help you get one for a dog who has reacted adversely to the vaccine. Check out the law at https://www.dogs4dogs.com/rabies-laws And find a vet who may help at https://www.dogs4dogs.com/rabies-laws

  18. Kami Says:

    I have a 15-mo old pure bred, Rhodesian Ridgeback. I waited until he was 11 mos. to get his first Rabies shot. Yesterday, just 4 1/2 mod. later, I took him to get his DAPP, Bordatella, Heartworm and Fecal tests. The Tech took him in the back to give him his shots. When she returned, she said, “Here is the sticker for his Rabies vaccine.” I freaked out! I told her we had had it in March. She was very curt and said, “Well, it’s not in our system!” I went off on her. Now, I am concerned about the impact on his poor system. Should I be concerned?

  19. Jan Says:

    Kami, several things have gone wrong. 1) The extra rabies shot. 2) a rabies shot given with other vaccines; 3) 6 vaccines your dog didn’t need. Please read this. http://truth4pets.org/question-before-vaccination/

    Make sure everything was recorded in your dog’s file, including vaccine names, serial #s, the redundant rabies vaccine, etc. Get a copy of the file. If your dog becomes ill, you’ll need proof of what happened.

    Next, fire your vet. If you’re up to it, write a letter to him/her saying why. Incompetence and/or charging for unnecessary servicing.

    Find a vet trained in homeopathy to help undo the damage. http://www.truth4pets.org/vets If your dog hasn’t had a visible bad reaction yet, that’s good, but it doesn’t mean that some damage hasn’t been done. A homeopathic vet can help undo any damage. Homeopathy isn’t expensive and can save you a fortune in the future.

    Feed the best food you can afford. Preferably raw. https://www.dogs4dogs.com/food

    You have a few things going for your dog. He is large and young but not a puppy.

    Should you be concerned? I would be mildly concerned. But don’t freak out. So far, so good. If your dog shows signs of illness, write again.

  20. Tracey Zyniecki Says:

    I have an 8 year old Chihuahua who was diagnosed with diabetes 6 months ago. We are still trying to get him regulated and he was due for his 3yr rabies back in January. We Never go anywhere, but have planned a short vacation to go see our son in Florida for his birthday. I have no family here and my friends do not know how to give him his shots for his diabetes. I wanted to leave him at the vet while we were gone so they could give him his insulin shots, BUT they told me today he must get his rabies shot, yet this is the same vet who told me we cant even think about it until he is regulated. Now after reading these horror stories I am freaking out about even thinking about getting him his shot. I feel trapped and don’t know what to do about our trip?? HELP!!!

  21. Tracey Zyniecki Says:

    Oh, I forgot to ask if there is a rabies titer test??
    Thank you so much!!!

  22. Jan Says:

    Tracey, you can do a rabies titer test but it has no legal use and is more expensive than other titer tests. It will, however, serve to prove that your dog is protected. If it were me, I’d ask Dr. Dodds at hemopet.com to do the test and interpret it. Hemopet is a nonprofit and she’s one of the top experts on rabies vaccination. Your vet can draw the blood and send it.

    You are right to worry about vaccinating with anything, especially rabies. Do you live in a state that allows exemptions? https://www.dogs4dogs.com/blog/2012/03/05/does-your-state-permit-rabies-vaccination-medical-exemptions/ Even if it doesn’t, ask your vet if your locality allows it. Sometimes they do. If your vet understands how dangerous the vaccine can be, it’s horrible he/she would require it. People standing up for their pets is how laws are changed.

    My advice, if your state doesn’t allow exemptions, and your vet won’t protect your dog by allowing a titer test, find a holistic vet. They will know how to proceed. Find one at http://www.truth4pets.org/vets

    What your vet is worried about is his/her liability, not your dog’s health. Your dog needs you to stand up for him. Don’t be bullied into giving the vaccine.
    And here’s what you need to know about other vaccines. http://truth4pets.org/question-before-vaccination/

    The bad thing is that since your dog is well overdue for the vaccine, they may make you get one now and another a year later.

  23. Tracey Zyniecki Says:

    Hi Jan,

    Thanks SO MUCH for your response! I just took my dog to a holistic vet a week ago because the traditional vet was getting no where with regulating Little Boy’s diabetes. I couldn’t get her to return my calls after doing an in home glucose curve and thankfully I have found a holistic vet. The new holistic vet didn’t even want to talk about his vaccines until he gets regulated, but even after he is (hopefully) I don’t want to give him ANY MORE VACCINES!!! He also went through having dry eye for about 4 months a few years ago and I now wonder if that was an autoimmune response to the rabies vaccine??

    I live in Nevada and we do have an exemption for vaccines. I will just have to raise he__ I guess to get my boy exempt. I believe he should be eligible since he is diabetic and has liver issues. Boy the stress!!!!

    I have since decided that I will take Little Boy with us on the trip. Otherwise I will be forced to vaccinate him for rabies AND bordetella…NOOOOOO WAY!!! I did check into pet sitters but I just don’t trust anyone to be here on time to give him his shots. It sure is hard having a diabetic dog, but I love him to death and will do anything to keep him healthy and happy!

    Thanks so much for the information. You are so kind to help all of us with our beloved pets!!!

    God Bless,

  24. Jan Says:

    Tracey, it shouldn’t be that difficult to get an exemption if you have a knowledgeable, kind vet. If your vet won’t fight for you — that is, send a letter — then look for yet another vet.

    Have a great trip. I’m thrilled Little Boy gets a vaccination, too. One caveat. Be sure to take his regular food and water with you.

  25. Sandy Bartlett Says:

    I invest everything in the health and happiness of my two dogs. They have both had two rabies shots each but the law requires one every year. He weighs 110 and she is 25 lbs. Last time she developed a lump at the injection site which she still has. I read they inject in the hip now (instead of shoulder) so the leg can be removed if fibrosarcoma occurs. OMG!!! How can I do this to them again. I suspect he developed gastrointestinal problem. Will I go to jail?? I seriously want to move or do something illegally or something Help. I love them and can’t do this. What is wrong with this damn world and the health professional hand in Glove with law, pharmacueticals. I’d pay for the blood tittering somehow. This expensive test will be nothing next to surgery and cancer treatments. The problem is my area won’t accept blood tittering. Damn greedy world. How can people let this happen to our pets. Even if love isn’t the motivator what about the investment we’ve made caring for them.

  26. Jan Says:

    Sandy, rabies vaccination for dogs that have had their initial two shots are legally required only every THREE years in EVERY state of the USA. See http://www.dogs4dogs.com/rabies-laws There are a few backward locales that require vaccination yearly but most of these laws have been changed. New Orleans’s law, for ex, was just changed. There are also a few vets who don’t know the law or don’t care.

    Check your local county and city laws on-line and/or call around to a few local vets.

    Dogs with health problems or who have been vaccine damaged can get medical exemptions from vaccination in some states. https://www.dogs4dogs.com/blog/2012/03/05/does-your-state-permit-rabies-vaccination-medical-exemptions/

    If all else fails, and you find that your local law is out of date, contact your state legislator about changing the law. It is out of step with state law, and even the manufacturers guarantee the vaccines for three years. Contact http://www.rabieschallengefund.org for help.

  27. Dawn Says:

    Hi Jan, my K9 has recently started suffering from epileptic seizures. She turned 5 last October. The seizures started in March, 2014 and she has been on phenobarbital ever since with good results (no more seizures). She is now due for a rabies shot but I’m very concerned after reading this article.. Can I be exempted due to the fact she’s epileptic?

  28. Jan Says:

    Hi Dawn. I, too, would be very concerned about vaccinating your dog against rabies, or anything else. About a third of US states allow exemptions. Read this: https://www.dogs4dogs.com/blog/2012/03/05/does-your-state-permit-rabies-vaccination-medical-exemptions/

    Some states that don’t formally allow them do allow them in certain circumstances. The most important thing to have is a supportive veterinarian who will help. A holistic vet is generally more likely to help than a conventional one. http://www.truth4pets.org/vets.

    If you tell me where you live, I might know a vet who will help. If your own vet starts pressuring you to vaccinate, ask to see the “package insert” for his/her rabies vaccine. It will likely list seizures as a known adverse reaction. Even if it doesn’t, call the company and ask if they think you should allow your dog to get the vaccine. I suspect they will say no. Their label likely says to vaccinate healthy dogs only.

  29. Mike Says:

    Great info here! Thank you for your post.

  30. Are Dog Vaccines Really Safe? | Essentially Dogs Says:

    […] Falconer, William. “Pet Vaccination Efficacy: Are All These Shots Working?” Vital Animal & The Natural Path. Dr. William Falconer, 20 July 2014. Web. 13 Feb. 2015. <http://vitalanimal.com/vacc-efficacy/&gt;.Rasmusen, Jan. “Rabies Vaccination: Important Things You Need to Know.” Truth4Dogs. Jan Rasmusen, 16 Dec. 2014. Web. 27 Dec. 2014. <https://www.dogs4dogs.com/blog/2010/09/23/rabies-vaccination-12-ways-to-vaccinate-more-safely/&gt;. […]

  31. Paul Davidson Says:

    Great Article. Thanks for the info. Does anyone know where I can find a blank Rabies Vaccination Certificate form?

  32. Melissa Says:

    I just adopted a chihuahua from the local animal services and as part of the requirements before take home she had to have rabies/spay (full hysterectomy) done. She is about 2 yrs give or take.

    She had a localized reaction at the site, which i would not havge known except I took her for the free exam back to the clinic she had the procedure done at to see if I liked this vet clinic. She reported if the lump does not go away in a month from date of injection it will need to be removed.

    Unfortunately, this is the second dog i have had react, i am in financial situation, the vet could not answer my question on who would pay for the removal, they did not write the lot number down on the certificate, and they are not responding to my request for informed consent on having or not having the bump removed.

    I also had a westie mix who had full blown systemic reaction when she was 1 years old. So this is 2 for 2 in my lifetime of owning a dog.

    All the vet wanted to do was to give her a lepto vaccine which I refused until I know she is recovered from this rabies reaction. All i get is vaccines are important get them just give benadryl before hand. NO I AM NOT OKAY WITH ANY OF IT….. Glad i found your website.

  33. Rabies Vaccine Titer Testing for Dogs: A Word from the AHVMA | Truth4Dogs Says:

    […] Related articles:  Titer Testing: A Crash Course Questions to Ask Before Vaccinating Your Dog or Cat The Rabies Vaccine and Your Dog: Side Effects Rabies Vaccination: 13 Ways to Vaccinate More Safely […]

  34. Jon Says:

    Thanks for all of the infomation.

  35. Suzanne Bice Says:

    So happy to discover this website. We live in Texas. We have an 8 yr old Chihuahua. At 3 years old we did the rabies vaccine as prescribed by law. About a week later we noticed a lump at the injection site. Vet said to keep an eye on it and return in 3-4 weeks if not resolved. It didn’t resolve and sure enough, a tumor had formed. It was benign but required a very large resection to remove all of it. Muscle tissue had to be removed and consequently, long recovery! He refused physical therapy, water therapy, etc. We were told to NEVER vaccinate again and now, he needs a dental cleaning! Vet refuses without a required vaccination. So no cleaning for now. Hopefully his prior vet will do the cleaning without the vaccine. That clinic is about 4000 miles away but worth the trip if we can avoid a repeat of the tumor problem. No waiver program in Texas and titer testing is not well received for sure! Thank you.

  36. Suzanne Bice Says:

    Correction to prior post. The vet we hope to use is 400 miles away, not 4,000. Woops.

  37. Jan Says:

    Suzanne, I’m ashamed about being from Texas when I hear these stories. I’d contact a holistic vet and see what that vet recommends. http://www.truth4pets.org/vets

    You might also see if there’s a veterinary dentist nearby. Specialists often care about health, not just rules. You could also see if any local vet will accept titer testing in lieu of a vaccine. I can’t say that your dog will have strong titers, but maybe.

  38. Jan Says:

    Unlikely. Why do you ask? Where do you live?

  39. Jan Says:

    Melissa, your might want to read this: http://truth4pets.org/question-before-vaccination/ You’re on the right track.

    Show up at the vaccinating vet’s office and insist on getting the dog’s records. If they refuse, report them to your state veterinary board. Google it.
    Also, ‘m not a vet but one of the top rabies vaccination experts advised waiting two months to see what happens. The lump can be biopsied before removal.. The manufacturer should, but may not, pay.

  40. Liliana Says:

    I have a 8 1/2 year old chihuahua. Veterinarian made a mistake and gve him rabies vaccine twice within two weeks difference. My dog now has been quite sick! He’s sugar drops to dangerous levels. He seems to have irritable bowel syndrome. What should I do? should veterinarian return all of my money that I have payed for more than six months treatment. Should they pay future medical? I need advise please!!

  41. Jan Says:

    Liliana, the first thing to do is to get a coy of your dog’s file from the vet. Are the two vaccines listed? Were other vaccines given at the same time? If so, which ones? Is the reaction listed? Has the vet notified the vaccine maker? Write again when you have this information.

    In the meantime, try to find a holistic vet. http://www.truth4pets.org/vets They’ll know how to treat your dog.

  42. Teresa Says:

    We have a 2 1/2 yr old AussieDoodle, Bailey. He got his first 3 yr rabies shot on the 11th this month. He was itching and nipping right away which we noticed but thought was not unusual for an Aussiedoodle. A few days later he started shaking his head like he had an ear infection, so we treated it with meds we already had from the Vet. Later that day he started vomiting, and we took him to the ER Vet late that evening. She did x-rays, blood work and found nothing strange. We took him home and in a few hours he had severe diahrea with blood which continually got worse with the vomiting. Took him in early to Vet, she did the same tests which still showed nothing. Admitted him and hooked him to an IV for fluids, meds, etc. If not better want to do exploratory surgery on Monday. Could the rabies shot be responsible for this? A friends dog did the same thing after the 3 yr shot too, we just found out. We are really worried.

  43. Jan Says:

    Teresa, I am not a vet, but yes, this could be a vaccine reaction. He was showing the signs of an allergic reaction early on. What exactly do they want to find with surgery? If your dog were mine, I’d call the vaccine manufacturer, although they are not big on taking responsibility. I’d also talk with a holistic vet. In my mind, surgery is always a last resort. What do they expect to find? Is your dog healthy enough for surgery?

    Did your dog get any other drugs?

    Where do you live? Maybe I know a vet you can consult.

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