View Full Version : Rabies vaccine

23rd February 2007, 06:21 AM
Just a question regarding the modified live virus vs. the killed virus of the rabies vaccine.... Do any of you (or your vet) have a preference and why? I'm not finding a whole lot of information on the subject. Thanks!


Cathy Moon
23rd February 2007, 11:55 AM
We trust our vet to give our Cavs the most appropriate vaccines. :flwr:

23rd February 2007, 12:07 PM
Up til a few years ago all rabies vccines were killed virus. I don't know what the difference might be -- why not discuss this with your vet, who is the obvious first port of call for an explanation on the differences?

I thought this, from the very reliable Vetinfo site, had an interesting comment on both rabies and distemper. Regarding the latter: this would indicate there may be significant risks for anyone assuming a single vaccination would cover distemper for the lifetime of the animal if different vaccines provide different levels of protection.

Rabies vaccinations are all killed virus products at the present time. The standard protocol is to give one injection of the vaccine at 12 weeks of age or older and to repeat this in one year. Then the vaccine is repeated at one year or three year intervals depending on the state law and choice of vaccine. It has always been my opinion that the one year and three year vaccines were probably the same vaccines marketed differently. I have no proof of this and when I asked one of the vaccine company representatives he told me that there were differences in the adjuvents in some vaccines and rabies strain utilized for the vaccination in others. I have no reason to doubt this but I still can't see where there is probably a lot of difference. There is a significant difference in duration of immunity afforded by the use of differing strains of canine distemper virus, though. So maybe it is important.

It is highly likely that the protection afforded by rabies vaccination lasts much longer than three years but due to the severity of the disease and zoonotic potential most states are very cautious about taking chances and legislate one or three year vaccination intervals.

Mike Richards, DVM

from http://www.vetinfo.com/zrabies.html (note this was from 2002 though combination vaccinations have not changed much if at all in that time. Obviously now there are modified live rabies vax available though.)

General differences, from canismajor.com:

Which is better, killed virus vaccines or modified-live types?

Each type of vaccine has strengths and weaknesses. Modified-live vaccines provide stronger, longer-lasting, and more rapid protection, including local immunity. They are less expensive and may require only one dose to be effective. They have a potential to become active and cause disease, especially in a patient with a weakened immune system; to create immunosuppression, or to cause abortions in pregnant dogs. Careful handling and storage are required to prevent breakdown of the active ingredients.

Killed vaccines cannot become virulent and are less likely to be immunosuppressive or cause abortions. They remain stable during storage. They are more likely to cause allergic reactions, require more initial injections and more frequent booster shots, and do not produce local immunity.

A good example of the differences between modified-live and killed vaccines is the use of Bordatella vaccinations for kennel cough. Killed vaccines require two injections but are only 60-80 percent effective against disease and don't provide local immunity at the level of the airway. Modified- live vaccines are given intranasally, require only one dose, and start providing local immunity within 48 hours.

23rd February 2007, 09:56 PM
Thank you! I'll check out that link you provided. I was only asking because I was curious as to what other people gave to their dogs, the killed or modified live. Yes, of course, I will definitely discuss this with my vet (I always do), but I also like to get other opinions from dog owners.