View Full Version : Rabies challenge study
1st December 2006, 07:37 AM
Here is a link to an article in the current issue of Animal Wellness magazine about the problem of overvaccination for rabies and the proposed rabies challenge study that would provide evidence needed in order to change federal and state rabies vaccination laws which mandate unnecessary potentiallly harmful rabies shots.
if i understand right, a challenge study means that they vaccinate puppies, then over a period of 5 to 7 years, they expose the puppies to virulent strains of rabies without any further booster vaccinations, to see if they continue to be immune to the disease just from the effect of the original puppy rabies shot. They report in this article that such a study was done in France showing that immunity following one vaccination lasted at least 5 years (when the study ended), but the US legislators don't accept that research so that is the reason for the proposed US rabies challenge study, which will be done according to government guidelines so that it will be accepted as valid evidence. Then there would be hope to end laws that require pets to be overexposed to this toxic substance. The article reports that it's a neurotoxin which is capable of causing neurological damage to vaccinated animals--certainly a good reason to be sure your vet gives the shot in an area away from the spinal cord.
1st December 2006, 12:03 PM
Where should shots be given?? Stomach? Chest? Below the spine along his side?
1st December 2006, 12:49 PM
General advice with cavaliers is to ask your vet to give any vaccination back in the leg, away from the neck and spine (because of risk the dog may have syrinxes and therefore such an injection could be extremely painful). Many find cavaliers are very sensitive in the neck area overall, and hence a vacccine in the leg is more comfortable.
As far as potentially causing neurological problems, it would not matter where the rabies vaccine was given, if the goal was to avoid neurological problems. Those would be caused, if they are going to be caused, by the vaccine itself as enters the system, and nothing will be hastened or made riskier by the location of the vaccine.
Again, reactions to vaccines are *extremely* rare and in this case in particular, are far outbalanced by the avoidance of rabies which in itself is an excruciating death for a loved pet, and a human public health issue. A person bitten by an animal suspected of rabies must undergo a lengthy and very painful series of injections and even then does not always survive. I agree that there seems little reason to be giving this vaccine annually, but on the other hand, this is one of the most important vaccinations to get for public health and public responsibility and I would not want to question the importance of this vaccine or overemphasise whether it causes problems for a *very tiny* number of dogs. Annual vaccination has been the norm for years and has not produced any significant problems for animals getting the vaccine, while it has greatly reduced the incidence of rabies, and passing of rabies to humans. I'd like to see the three year vaccine accepted but the issues here need to be kept in perspective.
1st December 2006, 01:02 PM
Our vet gives the 3 year rabies vaccination, and we live in an area where skunks and raccoons can carry rabies.
1st December 2006, 01:16 PM
Annual vaccination for Rabies is totally unneccessary ! My state is annual and I hate the fact that they are getting over vaccinated . They are getting the SAME rabies vaccination that covers for 3 years but are given it yearly :yuk: I think that there is enough evidence of immunity to go every 3 years !
1st December 2006, 02:17 PM
Here in Massachusetts, I think it's every three years, with the three year shot. At least that is how I understood it. Tucker got a three year rabies shot in September. I do not expect him to get another rabies shot next year.
1st December 2006, 03:35 PM
Our vet gives the 3 year vac which I think is great. I think you can opt for the 1 year shot, and it is cheaper, but not over the 3 years.
1st December 2006, 03:55 PM
It should be the same cost -- it is the same injection. Maybe vets are charging three times more?!
The three year framework has been accepted for a long time in many offocial quarters, so I don't know why it isn't standard and accepted as so by kennels and for the Pet Passport, but it isn't.
1st December 2006, 05:07 PM
I think we pay a small premium for the 3 year shot...I have no idea how much but for the sake of comparison, let's say the 3 year is $30 and the 1 year is $15. Over 3 years with the one year shot you would pay $45.
It may not be fair, but I would think the vets need to recoup the cost of only giving it every 3 years by raising the price...they are running a business and it had to effect their bottom line to stop giving it every year.. HEre is the accountant in me coming out. :yikes
1st December 2006, 05:12 PM
Ashley ! I assure you Vets are making PLenty enough ! If thats what they are doing they should be ashamed of themselves !
1st December 2006, 05:15 PM
Believe me...I am not saying it is right, fair, moral, etc...I am just explaining how I assume they justify it.
2nd December 2006, 12:26 AM
...Again, reactions to vaccines are *extremely* rare and in this case in particular, are far outbalanced by the avoidance of rabies which in itself is an excruciating death for a loved pet, and a human public health issue.
The good news is, according to this article, it's not a choice between either vaccinating and protecting from rabies, or not vaccinating at all and leaving dogs and people unprotected, but, with the crucial help of research such as the rabies challenge study, a choice of vaccinating far less than currently based on proven facts about the duration of immunity provided by single rabies vaccinations.
While immediate severe post vaccination adverse reactions are uncommonly reported to vaccine manufacturers or the government, apparently influential members of the veterinary profession are concerned enough about these as well as more chronic conditions strongly suspected of being related to vaccination to want to support reduction of rabies vaccination frequency.
It was these kinds of concerns, apparently, that led to the 2003 AAHA recommendations to replace the annual with the triennual vaccination, and their report, both of 2003 and 2006, indicates that the change is far from accepted by many vets in the field.
The same scientific knowledge about duration of immunity that influencd the profession to begin moving from annual to triennual vaccination for rabies, supports a further movement to even less frequent vaccination. First they are going for a 5 year interval and then, as the data comes in, they will advocate a 7 year interval. The main motivation of these researchers to carry out this work is concern for adverse reactions in the patient population presented in common veterinary practices, acute and chronic. Without concerns about patient health, there would be no real justification for allocation of time and money for such a study as the rabies challenge project.
...Annual vaccination has been the norm for years and has not produced any significant problems for animals getting the vaccine, while it has greatly reduced the incidence of rabies, and passing of rabies to humans. I'd like to see the three year vaccine accepted but the issues here need to be kept in perspective.
Again, apparently there are significant and influential numbers of people in the veterinary field who are concerned about adverse reactions--underreporting of adverse reactions was a section of the AAHA report that was given strong emphasis and was characterized as a serious problem for patient health. If such reactions are frequently not reported, how can we draw conclusions about how common they are?
The goal of the rabies challenge study isn't to discourage people from obtaining immunizations for their pets. I believe the AAHA report concluded with a phrase that was something to the effect of, "vaccinate more, but no more than necessary," and by this was meant that the number of unvaccinated animals needs to be reduced by strong vaccination outreach programs, while at the same time, it's extremely important to avoid overvaccination by carefully considering each patient's needs and being informed about the duration of immunity provided by a vaccination.
I read a post by a woman on another discussion list. She said that she was bitten by a dog when she was 6 years old, the dog could not be found so she had to have the rabies treatment. Her father was a physician and gave her the injections at home. She said she is now 60 and recently had a titer test done for rabies immunity and she says her result came back at the top of the range. She has a high titer of antibodies showing that she is immune to the disease, she said. That's encouraging!
2nd December 2006, 12:34 AM
..The three year framework has been accepted for a long time in many offocial quarters, so I don't know why it isn't standard and accepted as so by kennels and for the Pet Passport, but it isn't.
One reason, although it doesn't explain all of it, is that there are states and municipalities that still require the annual vaccination. I'm not sure what the ratio is now of annual to triennual states. but as for vets and others who choose to continue to insist on annual rabies vaccination, free of any law, maybe it's a combination of fear of rabies with a touch of hysteria (not able to reason, wanting to use overkill out of fear), and an inadequate estimation of the risk of rabies vaccine such that it seems that there is all benefit and no cost to frequent vaccination. That's why the professional associations are attempting an education campaign and advocating better adverse reaction reporting.
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