So... About those rabies vaccines...

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Postby mnp13 » May 20th, 2011, 9:44 pm

Ruby is a year overdue for her rabies vaccine. Meaning she hasn't had a shot in four years. We choose to titer her instead. Not cheap, but in our opinion, safer for her health. A titer of .5 for a person is considered " protected." Hers came back 4.8.

I'm not thinking we'll even be wasting the money on titers for the next few years.
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Postby Malli » May 21st, 2011, 1:22 am

Does your Vet feel that the canine and human immune systems are very similar?
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Postby iluvk9 » May 21st, 2011, 6:14 am

Michelle, in our area of NY we are required to give the vaccine. Othewise we can't kennel them and could be fined or something, when we renew their licenses. Do you know if having that test done and the numbers being within a certain range would be considered the same?
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » May 21st, 2011, 7:49 am

Joyce, most states (not sure if any, actually) will not accept rabies titers.
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Postby iluvk9 » May 21st, 2011, 8:25 am

Thanks. That is what I was thinking.
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Postby mnp13 » May 21st, 2011, 8:40 am

There is no legal limit for rabies numbers in dogs and no state that I know of accepts titers. That said, a ve can write a waiver for the vaccine due to health reasons, which we have for Connor because of mange and his starvation. She said she would not do that no matter what if the titers were even close to the limit, and the closest we have had is 1.2 with one of the boys.

No, Joyce, we can not board them anywhere. However,we couldn't anyway because we don't give the kennel cough or other vaccines either.

As for the human vs canine immune systems, there is not a LEGAL "protected" limit for dogs, however that doesn't mean that they don't have a number that they "know" indicates protection.

I'm just sharing the results of what we did so people can make informed decisions for their pets. This is the course of action we choose to take, and not necessarily the best one for anyone else. I personally know three dogs who died because of vaccine reactions, and I personally know about one hundred dogs. So that's three percent mortality. If there was a human medical procedure that had three percent mortality with healthy patients it would be very very carefully assessed before each treatment. Unlike vaccines which are given over and over with a cheerful "this is the best thing for your pet."

Titers are expensive, and you may end up back at the vet getting the shot anyway, and if any of our pets come back with a low number they WILL get vaccinated. However, until those low numbers show up, we will not be giving them.

As I said, I'm just sharing our experience. Your milage may vary.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » May 21st, 2011, 8:42 am

Inara's only going to be getting titers from now on, except rabies. Living with a pit bull in Ohio, the last thing I need is for her not to have her actual rabies vaccination! Sheesh. I can imagine the headlines - "rabid pit bull found in W. Cleveland."
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Postby hugapitbull » May 21st, 2011, 9:05 am

Whether or not you are able to board without vaccinations depends on the circumstance.

Our vet has a boarding facility onsite and even after he stopped giving Trouble vaccinations (after the cancer diagnosis & chemo), he continued to allow her to be boarded. Because some hotels required your dogs be vaccinated, he also provided me a signed letter that I carried with me when we traveled with her stating she was under veterinary care for a medical condition and had not been vaccinated, but was disease free.
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Postby BigDogBuford » May 21st, 2011, 10:13 am

Roscoe's will waive vaccinations if you have a note from your vet saying that for health reasons they aren't vaccinating anymore. If we're waiving the distemper vx then we do ask that a titer be done. Typically if we're waiving the vaccinations then we don't let them play with other dogs (not a problem anyhoo with PB's).

We also have the cottages available which are really good for dogs that can no longer receive vaccinations.
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Postby plebayo » May 21st, 2011, 11:01 am

My only concern is the 'what if' factor.

I vaccinate my dogs every 3yrs for rabies, I don't license them however because our county animal control sucks.

Several years back I knew someone who had a wolf hybrid, in our state I'm pretty sure you aren't supposed to have them and it's hard to find a veterinarian who will rabies vaccinate if they know it's a hybrid. The dog bit someone and the county took the dog away from the guy, euthanized it, then shipped its head off for rabies testing and I think he got the bill and obviously no dog.

We had a client with a cat that seizured and bit the owner, and then died. The cat wasn't up to date on vaccines [only had one series of each] so the owners had to send her head in. This scenario wasn't so bad since the cat passed away but if they wanted to take the body home it would have been pretty gruesome, and it cost them $300 to send everything in.

My worry for my dogs would be if they bit a person or an animal they would either have to be killed to be tested, or I would have to pay for quarantine. I read a news article one time about a woman riding her horse, a small dog came out and was barking at her mare. She thought it wasn't a big deal until its Pit Bull buddy came flying out. The pit bit her horse. Of course the horse hadn't had a rabies vaccine and neither did the Pit Bull. Both owners had to pay to quarantine their animals at an approved facility.

Since I work in a place that my dogs can be exposed to distemper/lepto/parvo I do vaccinate them. I do distemper and bordetella[but only once a year, not 6mos]. I don't do lymes or giardia or anything like that. I stopped vaccinating my cat because he's indoor only but he also gets his rabies just in case. I would definitely stop vaccinating if it wasn't state mandated and could just go off of titers.
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Postby mnp13 » May 21st, 2011, 12:50 pm

Just spoke to the vet again. .5 is the acceptable number according to the World Health Organization for animals and is used as the baseline for dogs and cats being transported into a "rabies free" area. So though states don't "recognize" it, it is not just an arbitrary number, it is a documented number for animals that evidently also matches the human number.
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Postby SisMorphine » May 21st, 2011, 1:21 pm

Personally I don't play with rabies laws. Not worth it for me or my animal. My cat and Wally both had their rabies vax waived at the end of their lives because they were both ill, and there was always that part of me that said "what if something happens between now and when they pass" . . . and having been a part of a rabies test procedure on a GSD . . . I just can't stomach the thought. Nor can I stomach the thought of putting my animals in quarantine. Accidents happen, and the rabies laws are strict. I ain't gon' play with that.
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Postby call2arms » May 23rd, 2011, 2:09 pm

I've got absolutely no problem vaccinating my dogs against Rabies.

The emerg hospital where I work part-time has plenty of un-vaccinated animals coming in, that have bit someone or show weird neuro signs, end up euthanized, and frankly being in the cold chamber with the Agriculture Canada guy sewing off someone else's dog's head off is disgusting enough, let alone if it was MY dog. Seriously, those get the special orange bags and are in a separate bin, and there is usually one per week, sometimes two. Now I'm not saying they come back as positive, but still, had they been vaccinated they might still be alive.

We vaccinate about a zillion animals a week (between 20-30/day), reactions are pretty uncommon (definitely less than one a week) from what I've seen, and deadly ones are rare (never heard of one where I work, usually the animal's face or injection area will swell up, they come in, they get a benadryl injection, and they're fine. Seriously less common than "OMG my dog's face is swollen, he got stung by a bee"). The only deadly reaction to a vaccine that I heard from is a dog from someone on the forum.

So for me the amount of reactions is definitely less than 3% in a much larger sample pool than 100 dogs. So for me, it's not worth the risk not to vaccinate, and as I've mentioned before, it is a deadly disease that humans can catch, so really... I even tought of getting the vaccine myself at one point, and might do it in the future. But then again, to each their own - they're our dogs and we do as we see fit.
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Postby TheRedQueen » May 23rd, 2011, 3:06 pm

I do rabies vaccinations, because I don't mess with that...I'm already iffy on my number of animals, I don't want them to get me on lack of rabies too. ;)

I board dogs in my home, and I don't require vaccinations, and everyone that brings their dogs to me understand that my dogs are minimally vaccinated also.
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Postby mnp13 » May 23rd, 2011, 3:38 pm

I would only disagree with the rate of vaccine problems/reactions. No, I'm not a vet and I don't work in a vet's office, and yes my sample is only dogs that I personally know. But to know three people who lost their dogs to vaccine reactions, that's a huge percentage.

Had the dogs you refer to been vaccinated, they might still be alive, or had they been quarantined instead, they might still be alive. Or they might be dead because of a reaction to a vaccine that they didn't need in the first place. :|

And I am also of the opinion that vaccine reactions are FAR more common than people think. When a vaccine is given on Monday and the dog is sick on Thursday, how many people relate it to the shots on Monday? How many people wait it out? Why do I think that? Because human vaccine reactions are extremely common, when you hear a side affect on a commercial "the most common side effects are ... " it means more than 10 percent of people taking the drug had that reaction, or twice the number of people in the control group. (http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/Guid ... 075057.pdf)

Are fatal reactions rare? Yes, absolutely. In both humans and animals. However, cat reactions to vaccines are so common that there is a cancer specifically related to it - injection site sarcoma. Parents are told that their babies may have bone and/or joint pain for days after vaccines are given. That's far longer than the pain from the needle.

Rabies is a touchy subject because it's always fatal. However, when an animal is for all intensive purposes immune to it, there isn't a "need" to vaccinate again in my opinion. Of course, that is only my opinion and your mileage may vary. ;)
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Postby TinaMartin » May 23rd, 2011, 3:44 pm

The only thing that I am getting done on my guys now is rabies and only because I have to. I am even vaccinated for rabies(had to for a former job) and the running joke in my house is that I am rabid.
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Postby plebayo » May 23rd, 2011, 5:06 pm

mnp13 wrote:And I am also of the opinion that vaccine reactions are FAR more common than people think. When a vaccine is given on Monday and the dog is sick on Thursday, how many people relate it to the shots on Monday? How many people wait it out? Why do I think that? Because human vaccine reactions are extremely common, when you hear a side affect on a commercial "the most common side effects are ... " it means more than 10 percent of people taking the drug had that reaction, or twice the number of people in the control group. (http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/Guid ... 075057.pdf)

Are fatal reactions rare? Yes, absolutely. In both humans and animals. However, cat reactions to vaccines are so common that there is a cancer specifically related to it - injection site sarcoma. Parents are told that their babies may have bone and/or joint pain for days after vaccines are given. That's far longer than the pain from the needle.


We do have the occasional vaccine reaction where I work. If a dog was given a vaccine on a Monday and is ill on a Thursday and an owner actually calls in, we would have to dog seen immediately to give them some relief. We make it very clear to people that if the dog is vomiting/lethargic/swollen etc they need to call us. Most clients do call us when their pets have reactions. Like it's been said before the percentage of vaccine reactions is small. It also depends on the vaccine brand being used and the type of vaccine. We almost always got reactions to the Fort Dodge Lepto vaccine. Now that we've switched to Pfizer lepto the reaction is almost none. I've never owned a dog who had vaccine reactions. I know at least 15 dogs owned by people I work with who do not have vaccine reactions and do not have to be pre-treated before getting vaccines. I've never seen an animal die from a vaccine reaction but since you actually know 3 dogs who have passed away, it's obviously possible.

As far as human vaccines I have been vaccinated for a lot of things in my life and other than pain/swelling at the injection site have never suffered a bad vaccine reaction. I also don't know of anyone in my family who have had reactions to vaccines. :|

Also - cat vaccines. We've only seen one vaccine caused Sarcoma and it was way before my time of working at the clinic. When we give cat vaccines we put them in different places, just in case something like that happens so we know which vaccine caused the problem. [FVRCP right shoulder, rabies right hip, FELV left hip, FIV left shoulder]. Also although it doesn't change much for the cat I know companies like pfizer stand behind their product and would put money towards the animal's care. Fort Dodge isn't that way so much but we had a cat who was vaccinated against feline distemper properly, and still got it, and Pfizer paid for most of the cat's treatment.

Have you considered talking to a state official and trying to push for the use of vaccine titers? Have you considered partnering with groups that have done studies that say we over-vaccinate? I do think it is something worth pushing for because the titers don't lie.
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Postby call2arms » May 23rd, 2011, 5:30 pm

Michelle, I agree that there may be more reactions than we think, I'm just saying that personally, I don't see many of them. From my eyes, and the people/dogs that I know, no reactions or very few and far. We also only vaccinate with Pfizer (no adjuvants, one of the possible causes of vaccine reactions) and maybe that's why we don't have a lot of reactions. My opinion might be drastically different if my personal life experience was, like yours... I guess I'm lucky not to know any of these dogs who pass away from a vaccine reaction.

As far as the dogs that were sent to Agriculture Canada, they would mmost likely not be dead because of the vaccine. Or maybe 3 out of 100, with your statistics. That's quite a few more alive dogs. IMO it's worth it.

If an animal has been vaccinated on Monday, and is sick on the Thursday, it may be the vaccine, but may well not be. There is no way to truly "prove" (and I don't mean by that that it's not possible, or that it doesn't happen) what it's due to, I mean unless again, it's the site of the vaccine that's swollen like a football. Not feeling well, elevated temperature, GI signs... May be the vaccine, or may not be. Enough animals come in with things that are hard to link to a specific cause, so pinpointing something on a vaccine is hard to do, although if there was a 100% certain way to do it it would be very nice.

I also agree that titers should be a valid way to avoid the vaccine, if someone would like to. If it's good enough to have your dog sent to New Zealand or Taiwan, then it should be good enough for your backyard.
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Postby BigDogBuford » May 24th, 2011, 6:42 pm

In the 15 or so years that I've worked in the vet industry I've only ever seen one serious vaccine reaction and that was to the DHLPP so we can assume it was the lepto part since that's the most common one to be allergic to. It was a Brittany that crashed IMMEDIATELY after receiving the vaccination and we were able to quickly treat him with epi.

I've seen many more various lumps and bumps with different vaccinations but they always resolved after a bit of time. I was vaccinated for Rabies due to a job requirement and didn't have any side effects at all.
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Postby DemoDick » May 30th, 2011, 3:18 pm

Personal experiences on both sides of this issue are irrelevant and only serve to obfuscate the issue of vaccinosis. I have my suspicions regarding dogs that I know of that *may* have died from conditions vaccine-related, but there's no way to know for sure, especially when there is a real financial interest in pushing as many vaccines into as many mammals as possible (Chicken pox vaccines for kids? Really?) and the same industry pushing the plunger on the syringes would be testing the animals post-mortem.

Not vaccinating for rabies is just dumb. However if the animal titers above the minimum threshold there is no medical reason to re-vaccinate. That's what titers are for.

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