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Sydneys Mom
27th December 2012, 07:28 PM
Would like some opinions on when I should do this. Today, we had BellaMia's 3rd puppy vaccinations. Our vet wants to do rabies next month. Our breeder feels that this should wait until she is a year old (she's 4 months now). Just wondering on the pros and cons on the best time to have it done.

MomObvious
28th December 2012, 04:35 AM
Well, first check the local laws about the rabies vac. In my area dogs over 6 months are required to have them unless there is a vet documented reason they can or should not have it. If you have the option of waiting then you really need to think about BellaMia's risk factors. We have several cases of wild animals biting people and testing positive for rabies in my area every year. I do believe dog have been over vaccinated for years and years. However but laws and risk factors made this decision for me. Fletcher had no ill effects from the vac and neither has any other animal my family has ever owned.

Sydneys Mom
28th December 2012, 05:17 AM
Not really worried about the "legal" aspect as I don't think Animal Control is going to come knocking at my door. Just want to know any pros and cons to doing it now or waiting. I agree with you that many dogs are over vaccinated and over medicated, so just trying to avoid the unnecessary without risking her health.

sunshinekisses
28th December 2012, 07:32 AM
On my last two dogs I waited until they were one year old. If you live in an area where your dog will come in contact with wild animals you might want to have her vaccinated sooner.

Karlin
28th December 2012, 01:26 PM
One thing very important to understand: the laws on vaccinating dogs for rabies at a particular age are not there for the dogs' health alone -- they are there because rabies is a devastating and often fatal and extremely painful disease for humans. In most parts of the world where rabies is endemic it is spread to humans, particularly children, by dogs. Vaccinating dogs in North America and Europe is the single biggest reason that rabies is now rare in humans and that almost no cases come from dogs. But unvaccinated dogs are totally vulnerable to it and can easily pass it along simply by licking a child -- it doesn't require a bite!!

I would not advice anyone to flout legal requirements on age for rabies vaccination, in their particular state, country or region, for this reason. It is part of being a responsible citizen to get this done when needed. :)

If an unvaccinated dog comes in contact with a possibly rabid animal -- which means a bite from ANY wild animal -- the dog under California law could have to be fully isolated for SIX MONTHS (eg the owner cannot see or visit the dog for half a year!) to be sure the dog was not infected. :(

Rabies reactions are rare -- compared to the devastation of the illness or losing half a year with your pet because unvaccinated.

This is a good explanation of the vaccine and why it is important for animals in rabies areas (and California with its wide range of wildlife including animals now routinely found in urban areas -- foxes, raccoons, coyotes, rats, bats, skunks, possums etc, is ALL a rabies region):

http://www.arcataanimalhospital.com/2012/kittens/the-importance-of-vaccinating-for-rabies/

I did a google and see that San Diego County has had a spate of rabies cases in bats as recently as last month when four were found with the disease. Dogs easily will catch/chew ill or dead bats and thus acquire rabies. Last year several San Diego teens were feared to have been exposed to it when they found and handled a dead bat:

http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Teens-May-Have-Been-Exposed-to-Rabies-County-Health-Officials-125631548.html

That is how easy it is for rabies to spread.

Folks, do not risk the life of your dog or the people in your region -- please follow the laws in your own jurisidiction on rabies vaccination.

There is a very important and laudable effort underway to prove that standard rabies vaccinations for dogs give immunity for longer than currently recognised in some areas but avoiding or postponing beyond the local laws, that first critical vaccination that gives initial immunity is, I think, both foolhardy and irresponsible.

For general background, here is another piece carried last year in one of the San Diego papers:

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2011/aug/09/nowadays-most-us-rabies-cases-come-from-wildlife/



Nowadays most US rabies cases come from wildlife

By SUE MANNING, Associated Press

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

LOS ANGELES — Rabies prevention in the United States is by and large a success story, with just one to four people dying of rabies each year in the U.S. thanks to widespread pet vaccinations and aggressive treatment for people bitten by potentially rabid animals.

Around the world, however, rabies remains a major problem with more than 55,000 human deaths annually, along with millions of animals. Half of the human victims are under 15.

In Asia and Africa, where 95 percent of human rabies deaths occur, dogs spread most of the rabies, according to the World Health Organization.

In the United States, most rabies cases before 1960 were also in domestic animals, but today more than 90 percent of all animal cases reported annually to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control occur in wildlife, most frequently in raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes.

About 7,000 animals die as a result of rabies in the U.S. each year; Hawaii is the only state where there is no rabies. Around the world, Australia and Antarctica are also rabies-free.

Rabies is a virus that targets the brain and spinal cord. It is found in the saliva of infected animals and is most often transferred through a bite. Birds, fish, insects, reptiles and other non-mammals do not get rabies, and it's rare in chipmunks, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, rabbits, rats and squirrels, health officials said.

Americans spend more than $300 million annually to detect, prevent and control rabies, the CDC estimates. This includes the vaccination of companion animals, animal control programs, maintenance of rabies labs and medical costs.

About 40,000 Americans a year have to get the two-week series of four shots (five if you have immune problems) after being bitten. Often the shots are administered as a preventive measure after a bite, whether or not the animal is caught and tested. These shots cost more than $1,000 a series and are injected into the hip rather than the stomach as they once were.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has no statistics on pet vaccination rates, and laws requiring vaccinations vary by state. But inoculating pets against rabies - which costs just $15-$30 - is a no-brainer for many owners. Rabies is always fatal in unvaccinated animals, and pets can get the disease from raccoons or other wildlife. And if your pet bites someone, proof will be required to show that your animal is rabies-free.

"Protect yourself and your pet, not just from rabies, but from legal trouble and emotional stress and strain," said veterinarian Louise Murray, vice president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City.

During 2009, 81 rabid dogs were reported in the United States, an 8 percent increase over 2008, and 300 rabid cats were reported, a 2 percent increase compared to the previous year, the CDC said.

In 2009, Pennsylvania reported the largest number of rabid domestic animals - 65 - in any state, followed by Virginia with 55. Both states have laws requiring dog and cat vaccinations.

Nationwide, raccoons are the biggest rabies carriers, comprising 34.8 percent of all cases in 2009.

People consider them cute, Murray said. "People are never going to go to a bat on purpose. Raccoons are different. People feed raccoons," she said.

To cut down on rabies in wildlife, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services Program distributes rabies vaccine cubes by air and ground. The agency started drops for gray foxes and coyotes in south Texas in 1995 and since 2002, has maintained a 30-mile wide rabies-free zone north of the Mexican border, said USDA spokeswoman Carol Bannerman.

More recently, the agency has made annual vaccine pellet drops for raccoons east of the Appalachians from Maine to Alabama. Last year, about 5.6 million baits were distributed in 16 states, she said.

Arizona's gray foxes also get annual drops.

In Southern California, bats are the primary source of rabies, said Dr. Karen Ehnert, acting director for the veterinary public health and rabies control problem for Los Angeles County, which is on track to record about 20 rabid bats this year.

Around the state, rabies has been documented in 50 bats so far this year, and 144 bats in 2010, with other cases in skunks, foxes and a couple of dogs, said Dr. Gil Chavez, state epidemiologist with the California Department of Public Health.

In Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico and Grenada, the main source of rabies is the mongoose, a ferret-like creature, according to Brenda Rivera Garcia, acting state public health veterinarian for the Puerto Rico Department of Health.

She also heads the coordinating committee for the 22nd International Conference on Rabies in the Americas, which takes place in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a few weeks after World Rabies Day, Sept. 28, when individuals and organizations around the world work to create awareness about the disease.

"So many lives are lost as a result of this preventable disease," she said.

The Associated Press

Print page
Copyright 2012 The San Diego Union-Tribune, LLC.

Sydneys Mom
28th December 2012, 05:25 PM
Wow, appreciate all that information. My worry was over vaccinating when it's not necessary. With Sydney, I just followed what the vet said as I didn't know any better and didn't research. And I have to say, she took excellent care of him and I know she will take excellent care of BellaMia. She is very open to answering my questions and is not threatened by me bringing in information that I have come across. I am now more informed on this issue (and so many more) so I want to make sure I competely understand any medication or procedure before I agree to it.

As to my decision, will definately be getting rabies vaccination. We have coyotes roaming behind the house and this past summer we had work done on the house and the contractors pointed out 5 bats on the house! :yikes

cpell009
28th December 2012, 05:39 PM
In addition to the risks of spreading rabies, if you want to have your dog groomed, borded, or travel cross-border you will usually be required to show proof of rabies vaccine. In my area, especially around dog parks, the by-law officers will sometimes check to make sure your dog has the up-to-date vaccine tags.

I agree with the debate/conflicting feelings towards overvaccinating - but I think out of all vaccines, rabies might be the most important.

sunshinekisses
28th December 2012, 07:15 PM
I agree with the debate/conflicting feelings towards overvaccinating - but I think out of all vaccines, rabies might be the most important.

I disagree, if you check with your vet office you can find out what diseases are common in your area. I live in a mostly urban area, my dogs never have contact with wild animals before the age of 1 year so the need for rabies is less. Of course our local rabies law is different than other places. Parvo is very common in my area so delaying parvo vaccine will put my dog at risk.

Given the frequency of wildlife encounters for BellaMia I would vaccinate her for rabies at or before 6 months.

Karlin
28th December 2012, 07:21 PM
Hi Joyce: I know you are a really responsible dog mom :D -- I'm posting not so much to you (though I quickly found a couple of situations in which there have been rabid animals in your own region, which can sure help put the issue in focus :), but really as general points on an important discussion. It's great that you raised the question because I think we are getting so distant from remembering when dogs carried rabies (still a common fear when I was a kid) in the 60s and 70s, though in reality dogs were not so much the issue by then as the article above notes) and a lot of people wonder about the same things you do in your question. :thmbsup: It's a very good question to ask.

The rabies series of vaccinations is usually very painful for people. And none of us would want to be in the horrible position of having our dog put down after say an accidental bite if we weren't up to date on rabies vaccines.

I really support the research project to attempt to change rabies vaccination laws and frequency by hopefully showing (as seems to be the case) that rabies vaccines last for many years and hence annual and perhaps even every three year vaccines (which are available) are not necessary.

I do think most people overvaccinate the core vaccines -- the ones many vets push to have done annually. The current recommendation of US national vet bodies as well as many vet schools and of Dr Jean Dodds, is to do the puppy series (NOT starting til 9 weeks old or so -- evidence is vaccinating at 6-7 weeks, as many vets do, is pointless at best), the one year booster, then every THREE years. I don't vaccinate at all after age 7 as there is plenty of evidence that by that age, most dogs will remain immune for the rest of their lives. People can try titering to see if immunity lasts longer, but titers can be as or more expensive than vaccinations, and are not always accurate. I do not trust nosodes and have heard of cases where dogs given only nosodes have died of distemper/parvo. I think a good compromise is to follow the Jean Dodds etc recommendations.

The difficulty is that this means many of us have to hold firm against vets trying to push more frequent vaccination, and that state laws and regulations at kennels etc are totally out of date in NOT accepting these vet-body approved recommendations!! So it can be a pain to find a kennel or groomer or day care that will take three year core vaccines. But many will.

I think many people are very foolish in avoiding vaccination at all. To put this in perspective: people would be hard put to find a person working in dog rescue who won't vaccinate or uses nosodes -- we deal with too many dogs out of pounds that clearly were never vaccinated, and unvaccinated puppies, that tragically get out only to succumb to parvo or distemper, easily spread in kenneled environments. These are painful deaths and attempting to save a dog with either of these is extremely costly and burns through rescue funds and is very hard emotionally on the people doing rescue as the death is not pleasant. Hence the very first thing we do in rescue is get dogs vaccinated.

PS Bats are actually wonderful and very useful animals -- they keep insect levels at bay and make our evenings outside in summer a lot more bearable by polishing off a lot of the mosquitoes and other pests flying about! They are generally protected too -- over here you cannot seal off an attic that has bats in it for example until all nesting bats have ceased to roost there.

Sydneys Mom
28th December 2012, 08:00 PM
Thanks for the vote of confidence Karlin.........I try my best and pray it's always enough. Our vet does follow Jean Dodds protocol for vaccinations and so after the 1 year booster, it's vaccinations every 3 years. As for the rabies, she did explain most of the points you made, adding that by law she does have to recommend it, but ultimately is my decision. Since we just did vaccinations yesterday, I'll probably wait about 2 weeks and take her in for rabies. Armed with all this information, it is the right thing to do.

I'm glad this discussion happened too, so as to help others who are trying to figure out all the information and opinions out there.

Pat
28th December 2012, 08:47 PM
And none of us would want to be in the horrible position of having our dog put down after say an accidental bite if we weren't up to date on rabies vaccines.


Everyone should download a copy of their local municipality rabies/animal control ordinances. I'd venture to bet that nowhere in the U.S. is the above scenario possible.

My jurisdiction is Cobb County, GA. Interestingly, the EXACT same thing happens to a dog who bites a person whether they are current on rabies vaccination or NOT current. The dog is quarantined for TEN DAYS, and the owner may select from quarantine at the county animal control facility, the owner's veterinary office, or the owner's HOME. If the owner doesn't want to pay for quarantine with their vet, the county will take the dog to their facility. If the animal is small, elderly, or has a medical condition, the person's vet can request that the dog be quarantined at the owner's home, and animal control will likely comply with the request.

The more serious situation is what happens when a wild animal bites a dog. If you report this to the county, there is a six month quarantine which can also be at the animal control facility, a vet's office, or at home, depending on the situation. "Animals with expired vaccinations are evaluated on a case by case basis." Remember, though, that someone must REPORT this incident to animal control. An owner could report an incident and request that his/her pet be put down, but this is not a requirement if the owner does not agree to euthanizing the pet. The important thing is to know your rights before an incident happens and be prepared to cooperate and stand firm for what you want to do.

I am quite familiar with all of this because my neighbor's dog (wire fox terrier) bit a person (and bit the person's dog too) so I saw all of this in action. My neighbor immediately took the dog to her vet's office, but the dog was allowed to return home for the quarantine. My neighbor also paid for the bills for treatment for human and dog, and she installed a double fence system in her yard. She was not sued by the bitten person, who was another neighbor.

My 10, 12 and 15 year old dogs are not current on rabies vacs, and they never will be again. My 4 year old is current, and I MIGHT get one more rabies vac for her when it is due. My 8 year old indoor only cat had two rabies vacs in his life, and he will never be vaccinated again. I feel confident that they are protected for life. (google Dr. Ron Schultz and his duration of immunity studies) Bad reactions are not super common, but they do happen (more for cats than dogs) and vets know this. When my 13 year old (in 2007) was rushed to the ER with IMHA (immune-mediated hemolytic anemia), the first question asked by the admitting vet was "did she have a recent rabies vaccination?"

Pat

http://portal.cobbcountyga.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1155&Itemid=490 and you can also google and download a copy of rabies laws for the state of Georgia

Pat
28th December 2012, 09:03 PM
And, here is info on CURRENT post-exposure treatment. Don't be fearful to seek this; the "horrible" injections in the abdomen are not the current treatment. Info below is copied from source.

http://www.sonoma-county.org/shelter/rabies.htm

How is rabies treated?

Some people are afraid to seek treatment for exposure to rabies because they have heard about a long series of painful shots in the stomach. Thankfully, that is ancient history!

"Post-exposure" treatment is administered after a bite or lick from a suspected rabid animal. In the United States, it consists of a series of only five injections in the arm. An injection of anti rabies globulin is also administered at the time of the first treatment. This anti rabies treatment with vaccine and globulin has proven 100% effective if administered within 14 days of exposure. Doctors don't want you to wait that long. Treatment should start as soon as possible.

Most people do not react adversely to the rabies vaccine, but there may be some swelling, redness or soreness.

In addition to post exposure treatment, effective "pre-exposure vaccinations" are available to those people who may be at high risk of exposure to rabies. This group includes veterinarians, animal control workers and zoo workers who are frequently exposed to strange animals. Cave explorers (spelunkers) and taxidermists may also be in higher risk situations and wish to consider the benefits of immunization.

Human pre-exposure immunization against rabies requires only three, relatively painless shots in the arm. Individuals who have undergone pre-exposure immunization require only two additional injections if they are later exposed to rabies.

You may want to discuss your own risk factors with your doctor or health department to determine whether preventative vaccination makes sense for you.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/rabies/DS00484/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs

cpell009
28th December 2012, 09:11 PM
I disagree, if you check with your vet office you can find out what diseases are common in your area

Oops! I should have specified, I live in Canada...where even the urban areas have wildlife :rotfl:
And I agree 100% with parvo! That's a very scary one to risk.

Pat
28th December 2012, 09:16 PM
And, finally, when you read on the subject, remember that there is a difference between "unvaccinated animals" (those who have NEVER been vaccinated) and animals who are "not current on vaccinations."

Years ago when I did exhaustive research on the topic, I clearly recall reading that the statistics show that dogs and cats that had contracted rabies all had NEVER been vaccinated and that no animal has ever contracted rabies if it had been vaccinated at least once as an adult (according to recorded stats). I'm not going to take the time now to try to find that reference, but I think it's very likely that it came from Dr. Ronald Schultz who has done the most research on duration of immunity studies. That made a powerful impression on me.

Pat

Karlin
29th December 2012, 12:32 AM
I think there's such huge variation in how any authority deals with a case that it's hard to say what would happen. On reporting a bite -- I think it is unlikely owners report a bite by a wild animal, to a dog, say; but far more likely an owner seeks vet help and the vet reports the bite and the dog could go into 6 month quarantine. I think there's a lot of variation as well in what happens if a dog bites a person depending on the local authority. Over here, a dog can be euthenised due to a bite.

I agree that there's a big difference between never having a rabies vaccination and having had at least one. I think the current project will show a single vax or possible two over a lifetime is adequate.

The real difficulty for the dog owner remains that it is so hard and in some areas virtually impossible to find kennels etc that will take dogs not 'up to date' (eg annually!) on (general) vaccinations.

There's some indication that pet owners in Ireland and the UK will have to start getting rabies vaccinations to travel with pets between these two no-rabies countries as well. :(

Personally I would want some firm proof of the length of time a rabies vaccination lasts before I would choose to stop vaccinating every three years, if I were in the US still. I just cannot place rabies in the same basket as other vaccinations, where the decision not to vaccinate really only affects (or not) the health of the individual dog. With rabies, there's the intention to protect the human population as much as the dog, if not more so.

On core vaccines, I won't vaccinate dogs or cats after age 7 (when they've had puppy series, 1 year booster, then boosters at age 4 and age 7).

Pat
29th December 2012, 06:41 AM
I think there's such huge variation in how any authority deals with a case that it's hard to say what would happen.

***Agree. This is why I recommended reading and understanding your governing authority's rules and regs on the subject so that you don't have to guess. Don't just assume that something terrible will happen to your pet, esp. if you are aware of the exact laws in your area, and you are not intimidated and are able to remain calm and in control. I am in the deep South with the "good old boys" but our regulations are quite reasonable as are our animal control officials. (I know many of them.) I specifically discussed what would happen to me in my location. Have a hard copy of the local laws in your files for quick reference. I've also had the "what if" discussion with my vet so that I know what support I would have in a worse case situation.

On reporting a bite -- I think it is unlikely owners report a bite by a wild animal, to a dog, say; but far more likely an owner seeks vet help and the vet reports the bite and the dog could go into 6 month quarantine. I think there's a lot of variation as well in what happens if a dog bites a person depending on the local authority. Over here, a dog can be euthenised due to a bite.

***Correct, the vet would be the person to report a bite by a wild animal. Another reason I've had the "what if" discussion, and I've thought about what I'd do in that situation. And I also have procedures in place to minimize the risk. In the US, a dog can absolutely be put down for an attack on a human under the dangerous dog laws. But there is little chance of a dog (that has been vaccinated even if vaccination has "expired") being euthanized for a bite simply in order to test for rabies. And the ten day quarantine is fairly common in the case of a dog biting a human. In my area, a waiver from a vet saying the dog is ill, too old, etc. to risk vaccination is acceptable in lieu of vaccination. So every three years is not mandatory.

The real difficulty for the dog owner remains that it is so hard and in some areas virtually impossible to find kennels etc that will take dogs not 'up to date' (eg annually!) on (general) vaccinations.

***I've personally not had any problems or difficulties in the 15 years since I've stopped annual vaccinations, but I'm in an area with lots of choices (large, metro area).

Personally I would want some firm proof of the length of time a rabies vaccination lasts before I would choose to stop vaccinating every three years, if I were in the US still. I just cannot place rabies in the same basket as other vaccinations, where the decision not to vaccinate really only affects (or not) the health of the individual dog. With rabies, there's the intention to protect the human population as much as the dog, if not more so.

***Read Schultz's duration of immunity studies for firm proof. I am absolutely positive that my dogs are of no danger to any human.

Pat

Karlin
29th December 2012, 12:14 PM
Thanks for the thought-provoking responses, Pat :). Always of interest.

You are so well prepared in case of a bite -- I am sure that will inspire some others to think about the issue. I sure never have.

MomObvious
29th December 2012, 03:50 PM
I took Pat's advice and looked up the laws and regulations about rabies vaccinations in my area. Here is what I learned. All dogs in my county are required to be licensed and current vaccinated for rabies. They define current as within either the annual does or three year dose. We get a little rabies collar tag when our dog are given the shot and you are required to have it on your dog whenever your dog is out of the house. Personally, I could never image some official stopping people walking dogs the check but that is what the law states. I keep Fletcher's tag in my key ring....loosing it if something ever happened would be a problem.

From reading these laws I also found out that a dog suspected of coming in contact with rabies can be confined anywhere from 45 days to 6 months. If a current vaccinated dog is suspected of coming in contact there is a confinement period of 45 days.......this confinement is which has some pretty tough requirements may be done in a home, provided the dog will not come in contact with any other animals even other household dogs. A dog would permitted to go in the owners back yard only if inspected and approved but a Health Dept. official If a dog who is NOT current on rabies vaccination is suspected of coming in contact with rabies (or I guess bites someone) they will be under strict confinement which is legally defined as caged in isolation with the only access being indirect feeding, watering and cleaning BY a trained person for a period of 6 months!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This too can be done in the house IF a owner can follow all requirements for building, and maintain a "confinement" cage there are about 7 regulations about double flooring, double wiring included mesh on the outside to prevent any contact....including having a system for feeding, watering and cleaning without moving or coming in direct contact with the dog....oh and you would have to get trained by the Health Dept. on how to do this (get certified). Also you could only do home strict confinement if you have no children, other animals in the home. I would venture to say the Health Dept. does not allow many owner to do home confinement, because the requirements are so strict and numerous.

I think its always a wobbly line we as parents of dogs and children walk to vaccinate or not and when. Who wants their dog or child to be pumped with unnecessary chemicals....but for me when it comes to rabies vaccine its something my dog will be current on (as defined by my state)

sunshinekisses
29th December 2012, 07:02 PM
Oops! I should have specified, I live in Canada...where even the urban areas have wildlife :rotfl:
And I agree 100% with parvo! That's a very scary one to risk.

Oh-Canada, where the moose reside in your backyard. :P Beautiful country...I couldn't live there it gets too cold for me. I keep trying to convince my hubby we need to live in Arizona.