The Rabies Vaccine Dilemma: Movement Seeks to Reduce Overdosing and Over-Vaccination
May 02, 2017 12:15AM
By John Robb
There is a simple inexpensive blood test, called a titer, which indicates immunity against rabies, and veterinarians have known this for years. In many cases, such as my own, one rabies vaccine was given many years ago. When blood titers were recently checked—decades after that one administration of a rabies vaccine—my titers were still 10 times the protective level needed.
Why does this matter? Because the rabies vaccine is the most toxic of all vaccines given to pets. Millions of pets have already died due to overdosing and over-vaccination from the rabies vaccine, and many have developed chronic disease following administration.
Overdosing happens because the vaccine is dose-dependent: smaller pets require less volume to achieve immunity then larger pets. Yet state law says the veterinarian must give the same dose to all size pets. Science has clearly shown that vaccine reactions go up as the pets weight goes down and the titer goes up as the pets weight goes down. So it’s clear we can produce immunity to rabies in smaller pets with a lower volume and yet the “bad” rabies law in Connecticut requires veterinarians to overdose the smaller pets mandating 1 cc volume to all pets regardless of size.
It is over-vaccination because once a pet has established immunity measurable by a rabies blood titer, there is no need for a booster vaccine. However, the law as currently written requires the vaccine to be given every one or three years regardless if it’s medically warranted or not. Does that not seem like medical malpractice to inject a pet with a vaccine that has no medical value and can, in fact, potentially injure or kill the pet? The veterinarian, once educated, essentially must either live up to their Hippocratic Oath to do no harm or follow a law that potentially causes them to injure or kill their patient. That is the rabies dilemma.
Five percent of dogs and 3 percent of cats are non-responders to the rabies vaccines. That means no matter how many rabies vaccines they are given, they don’t produce antibodies and will get rabies if exposed. When a blood titer is taken, the results are “0”, meaning no response to vaccination. Without the titer test currently being done, these pets are issued a rabies vaccine certificate, which gives a false sense of security to the pet owner and the community. When the pets get sick, rabies is not considered likely since they were previously vaccinated and whole families may actually be in danger.
Protect the Pets Movement
The good news is that there is a movement of people, under the name Protect the Pets, that is growing around the country and the world. This movement is composed of pet lovers—pet owners, veterinarians and legislators—who now better understand the science and are rapidly introducing legislation to amend the “bad rabies” law.
Right now in the State of Connecticut, Proposed Bill No. 5659 is currently being debated by the Public Health Committee.
An Act Concerning the Vaccination of Animals
This bill proposes two things: that the general statutes be amended to allow the veterinarians to (1) vary vaccine dosage protocols when in the best interest and health of an animal, and (2) administer rabies antibody titer to determine the need for a rabies booster vaccine.
The Statement of Purpose is to allow veterinarians to make decisions that is in the best interest of an animal’s health and to prevent animals from being over-vaccinated.
This is the time to take action in Connecticut. This bill will pass when pet lovers educate each other and contact their elected officials. The best way is an email giving legislators our phone numbers and asking them to call us. Another excellent opportunity is to see them in person when they have local town meetings asking input from their constituents.
This amended rabies law is long overdue; this is an opportunity for Connecticut to make history by being the first state to amend it and protect lives of pets and the public by identifying non-responders.