I take Rabies very seriously as a threat to my dogs and to people. I think we can all agree rabies is a deadly disease and we all need to be protected from it. Rabies is a virus and it is usually transmitted from a bite. In the United States the animals most likely to be carrying this virus are skunks, foxes, raccoons and coyotes. I come across these animals regularly on my daily walks and so do my dogs and I know that the safest way to protect me and my dogs is to vaccinate them.
There is growing evidence and awareness that over vaccination in dogs is a leading cause of tumors, skin conditions and a range of auto immune diseases. According to the Rabies Challenge Fund
"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, auto-immune hemolytic anemia, 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."
Common sense tells us that we should only give it as often as it is necessary to maintain the animals immunity and the question we need to be asking ourselves is how many vaccines does it take to ensure immunity? Does it really need to be every three years for the lifetime of our pets? Science tells us no but the law mandates we vaccinate every three years.
Slowly but (hopefully) surely there is some good news emerging. Delaware is the first state to pass a law that will accept a blood titer in lieu of a valid rabies certificate. Titers detect antibodies to a particular disease. In essence, if you have antibodies present then you have immunity – most likely from the continuing presence of antibodies from the original vaccination. We have to hope that, in the not too distant future, all States will adopt this common sense approach that follows science and our current understanding of how immunisation works.
The Rabies Challenge Fund Results
The Rabies Challenge Fund was established to determine duration of immunity. (Much more information is available here)
The results of the rabies challenge fund have been made available to the public in its entirety (the full report is here). It clearly shows the three yearly vaccine rule is not necessary.
The goal of the fund was to extend mandated rabies booster intervals to 5 or 7 years and help reduce the risk of vaccine-associated adverse events. It concluded:
"The Rabies Challenge Fund trials have confirmed that rabies vaccine may induce a duration of immunity well beyond 3 years in dogs. These data serve as a foundation meriting further studies to: i) license a rabies vaccine with a vaccination interval of 5 to 6 years, which would enable States to incorporate extended booster intervals into their rabies laws/regulations; ii) develop and license a recombinant, non-adjuvanted rabies booster vaccine for dogs; and iii) establish a protective serum rabies titer standard for dogs. In addition, these data support the dual goals of better and safer rabies vaccination of pet dogs as well as improved public health security."
It is very difficult to navigate through the desire to be safe and protect our pets from harmful effects of over vaccination, but there are steps we can take to mitigate harm. Adverse reactions to the vaccine can take weeks or months to manifest themselves in our pets but we are not entirely powerless to intervene.
My homeopathic vet Dr Michelle Yasson recommends Lyssinum 200c, 2 hours post rabies vaccine. It is also called Lyssin. Cost, around $10 and is available on Amazon. I follow this guidance for all of my dogs when they have had their rabies vaccination to mitigate the adverse effects.
For those who may want to titer, the most cost effective way to do so is to visit the website of Dr Robb and follow the instructions re sending a blood serum sample to Kansas State Veterinary diagnostic Laboratory.
If we are concerned by current laws regarding this vaccine and I think we all are, we have a responsibility to lobby our elected officials to bring about change. The “Rabies Challenge Fund” trials are scientific evidence that three yearly vaccines are not necessary.