Tag Archives: rabies

It’s Time to Put a Stop to the Mindless Over-Vaccination of Pets

June 25, 2017
by Karen Becker, DVM

V I D E O here

Story at-a-glance

  • Dr. John Robb, a Connecticut veterinarian, has become known worldwide for his fight against profiteering and over-vaccination in veterinary medicine
  • Dr. Robb’s incredible story serves as a wake-up call to pet parents and the veterinary community about the dangers of bucking the system, and why the lives of companion animals hang in the balance
  • Protect the Pets is the movement Dr. Robb founded to raise awareness about the dangers of over-vaccination and the urgent need to change existing rabies vaccination laws in the U.S.
  • Protect the Pets is NOT an anti-vaccination movement; the goal is to protect animal companions from over-vaccination and vaccine toxicosis

Today I’m talking with a very special guest, Dr. John Robb, a veterinarian for over 30 years and world famous almost overnight (more about that shortly).  Dr. Robb attended veterinary school at the University of California, Davis in the early 1980s, followed by a one-year internship at a private practice in Connecticut, the New Haven Central Veterinary Hospital.

“It’s true I’ve come in the public eye more recently,” says Dr. Robb. “But honestly, I’ve been fighting to be a veterinarian my whole career. The drive profits in veterinary medicine has really become a problem, especially with the advent of companies like Veterinary Centers of America (VCA) and the Mars Company coming in and owning veterinary hospitals.

These are businessmen and businesswomen. These are people that want to make profits but don’t necessarily have the best interest of the pets involved. And unfortunately, the veterinary establishment, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and other organizations, seem to be joining forces with them instead of putting their hands up and saying, ‘We have a problem here.'”

Don’t Save the Dog: Profits Over Pets

On Dr. Robb’s very first overnight shift at New Haven Central, a vet tech dropped off a stray dog who had been hit by a car.  The dog was in bad shape, and Dr. Robb was supposed to put him to sleep.  The dog opened his eyes and looked at Dr. Robb, who of course worked the rest of the night to save him.

“I was in big trouble in the morning because I had spent a lot of money and there was no owner,” Dr. Robb says. “I kind of knew at that point it wasn’t really about the pets. Fortunately, the owner was eventually found and reunited with his dog, and he sang the praises of New Haven Central, so I was off the hot seat. But I learned there’s a big thing about money in our profession that supersedes caring for the pets.”

Dr. Robb has been fighting the system ever since, and especially on the topic of vaccines. Many people have understood for decades that we’re over-vaccinating pets, but the problem seems to have bubbled to the surface recently in a big way.

‘I’m Hurting My Patients With These Vaccines’

Like all veterinary students, Dr. Robb was taught in vet school that vaccines are good and prevent disease.  But once he was a practicing DVM, he began to see vaccine side effects such as life-threatening anaphylaxis, as well as longer term vaccine-related disorders.

“I began to read the veterinary literature like JAVMA, the Journal of the Veterinary Medical Association,” says Dr. Robb. “I started to research on my own. I came across veterinarians who had been showing that vaccines caused a lot of serious side effects, including hemolytic anemia and cancer at the injection sites. I had a problem now. I’m a veterinarian, and I’m hurting my patients with these vaccines.”

Dr. Robb began changing the way he did things in his practice.  For example, he lengthened the intervals between vaccines, and lowered the dose because it was very clear to him that small pets couldn’t handle the same amount of vaccine as larger animals.

Increasingly, Corporations Dictate How Veterinary Medicine Is Practiced

When he bought a Banfield Pet Hospital practice, Dr. Robb realized the franchise was very much into over-vaccinating.  So he put his own protocols in place, including “smaller dogs receive a lower volume,” and only one vaccine per visit.  He also didn’t give all the vaccines the franchise recommended.  Then Mars Petcare bought Banfield. Dr. Robb explains what happened next:

“They basically came in and said, ‘Look, we want your franchise back. In fact, we’re buying all the franchises back. We control the doctors. We’re going to give you about a third of what it’s worth and you’re going to leave. Maybe you can go open up another hospital.’

I said, ‘I’m not going anywhere. I have 15 years left on my contract. You can’t tell me how to practice veterinary medicine. That’s my job, so get out.’ But they took my franchise anyway. They said if I didn’t go quietly, they would report me to the state board, because I was lowering my vaccine volume and they said it was against the law. And so they did. They reported me to the Connecticut State Board of Veterinary Medicine.”

Buck the System? You’ll Be Handcuffed to a Stretcher and Taken to a Psych Ward

Mars/Banfield sent a letter to all 5,000 of Dr. Robb’s clients stating that their pets weren’t protected (immunized against disease).  So Dr. Robb contacted his clients as well, and recommended they have their pets titer tested to show they were protected.  That’s when the strong-arming really escalated.

“They put armed guards in front of all the PetSmarts in Connecticut,” Dr. Robb explains. (Banfields are located inside PetSmart stores.) “Two sets of armed guards, one paid for by PetSmart, and one paid for by Mars. They made a big scene and tried to blame it on me.”

The first time he attempted to visit his practice, Dr. Robb was handcuffed to a stretcher and taken to a psychiatric ward.

“The second time, they arrested me,” he says. “I’m just trying to hand out literature to do a titer and not revaccinate the dog without doing that, because I knew my pets were protected. I had done titers and I knew it.

It ended up in federal court. They lied to the judge and said, ‘We were offering titers.’ They did everything they could not to do a titer. They injured so many pets, some died, because they revaccinated all of them. It was part of a cover-up. I was vaccinating correctly and they didn’t want anybody to see that their pets had immunity.

The fight with Mars was in front of the state veterinary board, who had copies of all the scientific articles I had collected on vaccines, because I provided them to them. They told me they didn’t care about science. These are veterinarians and they don’t care about science? They said I broke the law. Even if I have to kill my patients, I have to obey the law. I said, ‘You guys are crazy. I mean, you’re crazy.’

This is the state of veterinary medicine today. We have mandated rabies laws, when instead we could take a simple blood test and find out that these pets don’t need the shot. We veterinarians are in bondage now, forced to injure our patients. Then you’ve got Mars coming in and trying to control veterinarians as their resource.

Karen, I thank God you’re standing up. I thank God other veterinarians are standing up, because most veterinarians want to do the right thing, but they’re scared to death about their license and repercussions.”

A Movement to Return Morality to the Veterinary Profession

I received a rabies vaccine at the age of 13 because I was getting into wildlife rehabilitation.  When I entered veterinary school and told them I’d been vaccinated at 13, they insisted I be titered rather than automatically re-vaccinated.  So why is it perfectly okay to vaccinate pets against rabies over and over and over throughout their lives?  I think we know why.  It’s the almighty dollar. Vaccinations are a major source of income for veterinary practices.

But the good news is the nightmare Dr. Robb has lived through has turned him into an agent for change.  He and his wife used their retirement savings to start the Protect the Pets movement in 2006.  “It was never to make money,” says Dr. Robb, “but to bring morality back into veterinary medicine.”

“I already had a track record of trying to stand up for the rights of pets, the people who own them, and veterinarians. Now suddenly I’m talking to a worldwide audience.

Because I was willing to put my license on the line and all my resources to do what I love best, which is be a veterinarian and protect my patients, this has become a movement of the heart. People are joining me. People like you, Karen, and all the people who have been fighting these issues for years. We’ve reached a tipping point and now we’re working together.

Before, we were isolated. The people whose pets were being injured and dying were isolated. They had no voice. They were told it wasn’t the vaccination. Even though four hours after the shot, their pet was suddenly blind and seizuring, it wasn’t the shot. It just was coincidental blindness, coincidental epilepsy.

Or a pet began bleeding internally and was diagnosed with hemolytic anemia. Or there were suddenly tumors on the right hip at the injection site. ‘It wasn’t the shot,’ they were told. Then one day they realized there was a public figure out there saying, ‘It WAS the shot.'”

Pet Parents Are Coming Forward to Tell Their Stories

Veterinarians have no legal obligation to report adverse reactions to vaccines, so there’s no real database.  The veterinary industry, which includes the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), seems to have no interest in creating one.  It’s deeply disturbing.  These are veterinarians.  How can they not be concerned about the adverse effects of pet vaccines?

But pet parents are coming forward to tell their stories, and they are the ones driving this change, because they’ve had enough.  As veterinarians, Dr. Robb and I and others are working to amend the rabies laws and bring morality back to a profession gone wrong where vaccines are concerned.

“Corporations like Mars, who think it’s okay to victimize pets for profits, are going to be rudely awakened, because we, the people, control them,” says Dr. Robb. “Because we spend money and we decide where we’re going to spend it. We have the power here. We just have to unite. That’s the bottom line here. We are uniting now.”

Why Is This Life-Threatening Vaccine Reaction Kept Hidden?

According to Dr. Robb, one of the best-kept vaccine secrets is the incidence of anaphylaxis.  I personally know people who’ve adopted or purchased a puppy and had the pup die of anaphylactic shock on the exam table at the first vet visit immediately after receiving a vaccination.  Invariably, the veterinarian who gave the shot tells the devastated owner the vaccine had nothing to do with the puppy’s death. It’s asinine.

Dr. Rob references a 2005 Purdue University study that addressed adverse events occurring within the first 72 hours after vaccinating dogs.  One of the study’s chief investigators was a Banfield medical director named Dr. Karen Faunt.  The study showed that the incidence of adverse reactions is higher in smaller pets, and multiple vaccines cause more reactions.  However, the study’s conclusion was that vaccines are safe.

During a legal deposition, Dr. Robb’s attorney asked Faunt: “Why didn’t you include in your study the dogs that died of anaphylaxis?  Certainly those reactions occurred within the first 72 hours?”

“I’m telling you, her jaw dropped,” says Dr. Robb. “Because it turns out there were at least six animals that died of anaphylaxis and they didn’t include them in the study. Instead, they concluded the vaccines were safe.”

Become a Partner in the Protect the Pets Movement

“Even as we’re talking here today,” says Dr. Rob, “there are pets out there being injured, dying, and being given injections they don’t need. It’s happening right this minute, and there’s no time to waste. Lives depend on education, encouraging each other, and taking action steps such as contacting state legislators. You can look me up on Facebook, John Robb, for more information.”

You can also reach Dr. Robb at 203-731-4251, or contact him through his Protect the Pets website.

“People think I’m so popular that I can’t talk to people,” he says. “Baloney. This movement is about you, and I want to talk to you. I want to know what your situation is. We need to work together. I need to hear people’s voices, understand their situations, and see if they want to be part of the movement.”

The first goal is to amend existing rabies laws.  There are 200 million pet parents and advocates, and 40,000 members of the veterinary establishment.  As Dr. Robb points out, WE should be dictating to THEM and not the other way around.  As pet owners, we make the decisions for the animals in our care.

An Important Distinction: We’re NOT Anti-Vaxxers

It’s important to point out that we’re not anti-vaccines.  There’s a huge difference between too many vaccinations and protective vaccinations.  We’re not advocating never vaccinating your pet under any circumstances.  We’re advocating the smart use of minimal vaccines to create immunity against disease in puppies and kittens, with follow-up titers for the lifetime of the pet.

I think it’s really important to make that distinction.  There’s a big difference between creating protective immunity in a pet and creating vaccine toxicosis.  What Dr. Robb and I are talking about is the danger of over-vaccinating dogs and cats.

Some veterinary vaccines are substantially more toxic than others.  It’s your job as your pet’s advocate to know enough about the subject to make the best decisions for your animal companion.  And if your vet doesn’t respect your opinion and point of view, find a new vet.

“The job of veterinarians is to vaccinate to produce immunity with the smallest volume and the smallest number of vaccines to produce that immunity,” says Dr. Robb. “Once the pet is immune, we’re done.”

Titer Tests in Lieu of Re-vaccinations

Once an animal develops immunity to rabies, parvo and distemper, it’s easily measured by a titer.  Any positive titer means the pet is immune.

“I was speaking to Dr. Ronald Schultz yesterday, and he’s helping us,” says Dr. Robb. “He’s in favor of titers, as you know. He’s been trying to put this approach forward for a long time. He pointed out that rabies is the worst of all the vaccines in terms of toxic reactions, so it’s extremely important to deal with the rabies laws first.”

According to Dr. Robb, about 20 to 25 percent of veterinarians are now doing distemper/parvo titers in lieu of vaccinating.  But most vets still won’t do a rabies titer because rabies vaccines are the only vaccines mandated by law in all 50 states.  A positive rabies titer isn’t acceptable in lieu of re-vaccination.

Many vets charge an arm and a leg for titer testing, which is unfortunate.  Dr. Robb currently charges $32 for a rabies titer and $54 for all three (rabies, parvo and distemper for dogs).  Some vets will do a blood draw for under $10, others charge much more.  Dr. Robb suggests finding a vet who will do it for a reasonable price.  The cost of titer tests will decrease once they become the rule rather than the exception.

Putting the Heart Back in the Practice of Veterinary Medicine

In addition to helping pets and pet parents, Dr. Robb is also very passionate about helping veterinarians who are in bondage to the current system.

“We want to free them to practice veterinary medicine from a heart perspective,” he explains. “That’s also what this movement is about. The suicide rate among veterinarians is four times higher than the general population. It’s because they have to go against their heart and injure animals.”

I so appreciate Dr. Robb’s passion.  I’m heartbroken over what has happened to him, but grateful for the beautiful gift that has resulted from his difficulties.  He has blown the topic of over-vaccination wide open in the veterinary community, and I’m forever thankful because I’m not sure it would have happened without him.

“One more comment about the worldwide thing,” says Dr. Robb. “It’s worldwide, because we may set the standards in this country, and then other countries will adopt them. There are pets in Belgium, the Netherlands, Japan and all over the globe. We want to reach all of them. We’ll start Protect the Pets England and Protect the Pets France. We are going to go wherever pets are being victimized. We’re going to set them free. That’s what this is all about.”

Dr. Robb and Rodney Habib of Planet Paws put together a short information video of Dr. Robb testifying about over-vaccination and overdosing issues in pets.  You can view the video here at Planet Paws.  Thank you, Dr. John Robb!

 

Visit Dr. Becker’s Pet Video Library

Leave a comment

Filed under education, health

Are We Over-Vaccinating Our Pets?

Did you know that, unlike most other veterinary drugs, the dosages for vaccines are not based on the size of the animal?  It’s scary but true.  A 5-pound cat, for instance, may receive the same dosage of a rabies vaccine as a 150-pound Great Dane.  Instead of body weight, these vaccines are based on the minimum immunizing dose.

Over-vaccinating animals can not only make them sick, but can cause potentially fatal autoimmune reactions.

“Over-stimulation of the immune system can be problematic,” veterinarian Deborah Wolf told KOMO. “There are (also) potentials for — especially in cats — injection site cancers. We want to protect them without over-stimulating the immune system, and running them down and creating new problems.”

Rabies vaccination laws for animals vary by state.  Most states do not allow veterinarians to give partial doses of the rabies vaccine based on a pet’s size or health.  Until 2011, rabies booster vaccinations were usually given annually to pets.  But that year the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) updated its guidelines to recommend that core vaccines be given to pets only every three years.

WHY ARE SOME VETERINARIANS OVER-VACCINATING PETS?

Why do some veterinarians continue to put the health of pets at risk by unnecessarily vaccinating them every year?

“A lot of people do what they told,” Dr. Dale Porcher, of Shores Animal Clinic in West Palm Beach, Fla., told CBS12.  “I think a lot of people have not stood back and questioned why are we doing this.”

Rabies and other vaccinations also happen to be a major source of steady profit not only for veterinary practices but for the Big Pharma companies, like Pfizer, that manufacture them.  Last year (2016), pet owners in the U.S. spent $5.81 billion on vaccinations, CBS12 reports.

Yet some veterinarians who don’t want to over-vaccinate their patients are being punished for taking measures not to do so.

Dr. John Robb, who practices in Connecticut, was put on probation Feb. 1 by the State Board of Veterinary Medicine for reducing the dosage in rabies vaccinations for small dogs. From now until 2042, he cannot vaccinate any animals for rabies.

“You’re telling me that if there’s a law that would force me to kill my patient, I would have to do it?” he told News 12 Connecticut.  “You know what the state board said?  ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘You are crazy.’”

Is it safe to give smaller pets lower dosages of vaccines?  Dr. Lisa Boyer, who practices in Loomis, Calif., doesn’t think so.

“Immunologists say vaccines are not dose-dependent, that you need enough antigens to stimulate the immune system,” she said.  “It’s not a weight-versus-dose question.  My 7-year-old [child] and I get the same vaccine.”

VIDEO below: “Vets Are Now Challenging the Government”

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fdoctor.karen.becker%2Fvideos%2F1408834765858068%2F&show_text=0&width=400

CONNECTICUT MAY BE THE FIRST STATE TO PREVENT VACCINE OVERDOSING

To help prevent pets from getting sick from being over-vaccinated — and to prevent veterinarians like Dr. Robb from getting punished for trying to keep pets healthy — Connecticut state representatives Pam Staneski and Fred Camillo introduced the bill H.B. 5659 in January, 2017.

The new law would allow vets to adjust vaccine dosages and skip rabies booster shots in the best interest and health of an animal.  The bill recommends a titer test — a simple blood test — that can determine if a pet is adequately immunized.

If H.B. 5659 manages to get passed, Connecticut will become the first state to allow animals to be tested for rabies antibodies instead of being automatically vaccinated every few years.

DON’T LET YOUR PET BE OVER-VACCINATED

It’s important to ask your veterinarian about the vaccinations your pet is receiving.

If your vet recommends annual vaccinations even though your pet has no health or other issues that would require them, you might want to let your vet know about the latest AAHA vaccination guidelines – or perhaps find another vet.

As Dr. Porcher told CBS12, your veterinarian’s primary concern should be “your pet’s health and not their profit margin.”

Leave a comment

Filed under education, health

Despite the Law, Here’s Proof Your Pet Probably Doesn’t Need This Vaccine

By Dr. Becker

I have some encouraging news!

On March 1, 2016, the Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control Committee, under the auspices of the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, published revised recommendations for the handling of pets overdue for a rabies re-vaccination in the event they’re exposed to the virus.

The new guidelines, published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, recommend that cats and dogs exposed to rabies who are overdue for a vaccine be given a booster shot (re-vaccination) followed by an observation period rather than be quarantined or euthanized.1

Currently, if a pet with a lapsed rabies vaccination is exposed to a rabid animal, the law in many states requires the pet to be quarantined for several months at the owner’s expense, or euthanized.

The revised guidelines also recommend reducing the quarantine period from 6 months to 4 months for unvaccinated cats and dogs exposed to rabies.

New Guidelines Follow 4-Year Study

The new guidelines follow the results of a study conducted at the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (KSVDL) by veterinary researchers led by Dr. Michael C. Moore.2

Dr. Moore and his team set out to evaluate whether dogs and cats overdue (by law) for a rabies vaccine respond satisfactorily to a booster (re-vaccination).

For 4 years, between 2010 and 2014, the researchers collected blood samples from 74 dogs and 33 cats that had 1) been exposed to rabies and brought to a veterinarian, or 2) were brought to a veterinarian for a rabies booster.

The KSVDL researchers gave a rabies booster to each dog and cat to evaluate their anamnestic antibody responses.

They discovered that after 5 to 15 days, all the animals – both those with current vaccinations and those overdue for a vaccination – had rabies neutralizing antibody titers of ≥ 0.5 IU/mL, indicating immunity to the virus.

Study Proves Rabies Protection Doesn’t Suddenly Disappear on a Predetermined Date

The study results demonstrate that when an animal with an out-of-date rabies vaccination receives the booster, the antibodies in his or her blood rise, protecting against exposure to the virus.  The study authors concluded:

“Findings supported immediate booster vaccination followed by observation for 45 days of dogs and cats with an out-of-date vaccination status that are exposed to rabies, as is the current practice for dogs and cats with current vaccination status.”3

Moore said, “When it comes to vaccinating either people or animals, they don’t just all of a sudden on a predetermined date have zero protection or loss of priming.”

The team at the Rabies Laboratory at the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory gets several calls each month about cats and dogs that have been exposed to rabies and are overdue for a vaccine.  Traditionally, the only options available have been a very costly 6-month quarantine or euthanasia.

“We are very excited that people might have an additional option if their cat or dog is out-of-date and exposed to rabies,” said Moore.

Most Pets Overdue for a Booster Were Still Immunized Against Rabies

More interesting than the rabies booster findings for those of us fighting against over-vaccination of pets is what the researchers discovered about the dogs and cats in the study before they were given rabies re-vaccinations.

Based on blood samples drawn on day 0 of the study, several of the animals whose rabies vaccinations were out-of-date had acceptable and even high rabies antibody titers pre-booster.  Examples:

  • A dog that was 3 months overdue for a 3-year vaccination had a pre-booster titer of 9.7 IU/mL
  • A dog 5.5 months overdue for a 3-year vaccination had a pre-booster titer of 12 IU/mL
  • A dog 2 years overdue for a 1-year vaccination had a pre-booster titer of 0.6 IU/mL, as did a dog 3.5 months overdue for a 1-year vaccination
  • A dog 1.5 years overdue for a 1-year vaccination had a pre-booster titer of 1.8 IU/mL
  • A cat 9 months overdue for a 3-year vaccination had a pre-booster titer of 12 IU/mL

For the entire group of 74 dogs, those with current vaccinations (55) had a median pre-booster titer of 2.6 IU/mL.  The remaining 19 dogs with out-of-date vaccinations had a median pre-booster titer of 2.0 IU/mL –well over the ≥ 0.5 IU/mL that indicates protection against the virus.

Of the 33 kitties, 7 had a current rabies vaccination and the remaining 26 were overdue.  The cats with a current vaccine had a median pre-booster titer of 2.4 IU/mL, and interestingly, the kitties whose vaccinations were out-of-date had a median pre-booster titer of 6.3 IU/mL – again, well over the ≥ 0.5 IU/mL target.

This means the vast majority of pets in the study, whether they had a current rabies vaccination or were overdue for a 1- or 3-year vaccine, had adequate rabies neutralizing antibody titers and were protected in the event of exposure to the virus prior to receiving a rabies booster.

Will the New Guidelines Change State Rabies Vaccination Laws?

Unfortunately, the veterinary community can only provide recommendations with regard to the management of pets exposed to rabies. According to Dr. Richard Ford, an emeritus professor at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine:

“The application, interpretation and enforcement of rabies vaccination laws can vary significantly from state to state, and even county to county.  Complex and sometimes conflicting rabies laws can lead to considerable confusion, misinterpretation of state and local statutes and inappropriate actions on the part of individual practitioners.”

As Dr. Jean Dodds, veterinary vaccine authority and chairperson of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) Communications Committee, points out in a press release titled “Changes Sought to Rabies Vaccination Laws Based on Scientific Research”:

“Until legal changes occur, animal guardians and veterinarians must comply with existing legal statutes.  Rabies serum antibody titering can be performed for information, documentation, and to satisfy export and import requirements, but this does not replace the legal requirement for rabies booster vaccinations.”4

Hopefully, I’ll have more good news to report in the near future about states adopting the new recommendations in the Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control, 2016.

In the meantime, you can bookmark RabiesAware.org, a new site (sponsored by the veterinary drug company Merial) that “provides rapid access to current, validated state-level laws and regulations on rabies vaccination.” The information is a resource for veterinarians, but pet guardians will also find it useful.  The site is still being populated as of this writing, so not every state has information available yet.

—–
Source
—–

Leave a comment

Filed under education

*FREE* Spay/Neuter & Rabies & Microchip & License this month (Dec 2015)

Do you want to know the simplest way to keep pets out of overcrowded shelters?

Help families keep their pets at home, by sharing great opportunities like this:

Houston’s city animal shelter, BARC, is offering FREE spay/neuter, FREE rabies vaccination, FREE microchip, and a FREE City of Houston license.  You must live within the City of Houston limits to qualify- bring a current ID and a bill with a City of Houston address.

The lines will be long on Saturday, but if you don’t get in that day, all overflow clients will receive a voucher for future use. ‪#‎spayneuter‬‪  #‎adoptdontshop‬

PLEASE SHARE!!!

BARC's photo.

Leave a comment

Filed under education, events, outreach

Good News on the Horizon for Rabies Vaccines?

Pet vaccines

By Dr. Becker

I’m very happy to be able to share a bit more encouraging news regarding rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats.

Very recently I reported the results of a study performed by Kansas State University (KSU) that compared “anamnestic” antibody responses of dogs and cats with current vs. out-of-date rabies vaccinations.  The animals in the study were given rabies boosters (“booster” is simply another name for a re-vaccination), and then given antibody titer tests to see if the group with current vaccinations had higher titers than the group with out-of-date vaccinations.

The study authors’ conclusion:

“Results indicated that dogs with out-of-date vaccination status were not inferior in their antibody response following booster rabies vaccination, compared with dogs with current vaccination status.

Findings supported immediate booster vaccination followed by observation for 45 days of dogs and cats with an out-of-date vaccination status that are exposed to rabies, as is the current practice for dogs and cats with current vaccination status.”1

What this shows is there is no health-related reason to mandate long-term quarantine or euthanasia for dogs and cats with expired rabies vaccinations that are exposed to a rabid animal.

Michael C. Moore, lead study author, hopes the study findings help clarify and shape the current guidelines for pets that are exposed to the rabies virus:

“‘If you relate this to human health, humans are primed with an initial vaccination series and then have neutralizing antibodies checked from time to time,’ he said.

‘If those antibodies fall below a certain level, we’re given a booster.  While the vaccines are licensed for a certain number of years, the immune system doesn’t sync to a date on the calendar and shut down because it reached that particular date.'”

These study results were published in mid-January 2015, and in August, KSU announced that scientists at the university’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (KSVDL) had “modified a test that measures an animal’s immune response to the rabies virus, a change that will cost pet owners less money and may help reduce the number of yearly vaccines for pets.”2

What they’re talking about is a rabies titer test.  It’s important to note that state and local laws mandating one or three-year rabies re-vaccinations for dogs and cats are based on zero scientific evidence the “boosters” are actually necessary.

The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association Supports the Work of the KSU Rabies Lab

A few days after seeing the mid-August KSU news release, I received a note from my good friend and veterinary vaccine authority, Dr. Jean Dodds.  Dr. Dodds and I are fellow members of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA), and she is Chairperson of the AHVMA Communications Committee.

Dr. Dodds forwarded an AHVMA press release titled “Changes Sought to Rabies Vaccination Laws Based on Scientific Research.”  As it turns out, the AHVMA has been working in support of Kansas State University on the rabies antibody titer test project.  This makes all kinds of sense, since it is the holistic and integrative veterinary community that has been leading the charge against over-vaccinating pets.

Here is Dr. Dodds’ press release in its entirety:

“The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) became the first national veterinary organization to support efforts by Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (KSVDL) to improve rabies testing with a modified screening test to determine if veterinary patients need to receive rabies booster vaccinations to maintain protective immunity.  The AHVMA and its members have long expressed concern over animal vaccination practices.  While vaccinations provide important protection against a wide number of serious diseases, they can also cause adverse effects ranging from minor discomfort, autoimmune disorders, and even death on rare occasions.

Veterinarians can offer serum antibody titers, a form of blood testing which is helpful in predicting the need for revaccination.  This practice is helpful to reduce the potential dangers to pets from receiving unneeded vaccinations.  Currently, laws regulating rabies vaccination are set locally and statewide and may not allow for the use of blood antibody testing to avoid mandatory rabies revaccination.  To comply with the law, veterinarians and pet owners vaccinate at prescribed intervals regardless of existing immunity.  This practice was developed to protect public health in a time when vaccine titers were not offered by veterinarians, but it increases the risk of vaccine adverse-events for our dog and cat patients.

Recent research at the Rabies Challenge Fund suggests immunity from rabies vaccination lasts much longer than the usual one to three year interval required by current laws.  This study added significant evidence that we may be over vaccinating for rabies in our pet population.  Public health officials have expressed concern that reducing vaccination for rabies could increase the incidence of this deadly disease.  To date, legislatures and public health agencies have resisted changing rabies vaccination laws to reflect current knowledge about rabies vaccine duration of protection.

Rabies vaccinations can be associated with a number of significant, well-documented adverse effects.  These include localized swelling and pain, fever, chronic hair loss, ulcerative dermatitis, encephalitis, vasculitis, seizures, vaccine-related cancer, and anaphylactic shock.  Pet guardians whose animals have suffered such illness are very concerned about revaccination.   If they fail to keep the vaccination current based upon current legal requirements, they may be penalized in several ways depending upon existing legal statutes.

KSVDL recently announced the modification of the established rabies antibody test (Rapid Fluorescent Focus Inhibition Test) to rapidly screen immunity to rabies virus.  Once properly vaccinated, such testing can be used to identify if the individual has an antibody level indicative of protection from rabies.  If an animal undergoes testing and is found to have adequate protection, the AHVMA supports reform of public health laws that require automatic revaccination.  Such booster vaccinations may not be medically necessary.  This new testing procedure allows screening for continued rabies vaccine response.  This allows veterinarians and pet guardians to effectively decide upon a path that reduces risks of an adverse effect for individual animals while protecting any public health concerns.

In 2015, AHVMA participated as the KSVDL Rabies Lab conducted a survey to gather data from members about their policies regarding dog and cat vaccinations, including rabies vaccination.  AHVMA respondents reported:

  • 92 percent gave rabies vaccinations.
  • 76 percent routinely offered titers for core vaccines after completion of the initial vaccine series
  • 34 percent offered titers for rabies after completion of the initial 2-dose series
  • 75 percent would measure rabies titers if the Compendium changes its stance to equate out-of-date rabies vaccine status the same way as they do animals current on rabies vaccines

Until legal changes occur, animal guardians and veterinarians must comply with existing legal statutes.  Rabies serum antibody titering can be performed for information, documentation, and to satisfy export and import requirements, but this does not replace the legal requirement for rabies booster vaccinations.

It is the hope of both organizations that through cooperation and advancements in science we can illustrate our dedication to better health and safety for people and animals.  As science advances we must update public policy to reflect our new understandings.  This new testing is a great example of such cooperative efforts.”

For additional important information on rabies and rabies titers, please read the final few sections of “Changes Sought to Rabies Vaccination Laws Based on Scientific Research” by Dr. Dodds.

Will Affordable Antibody Titer Tests One Day Replace Automatic Re-vaccination?

The KSU news release concedes:

“Yearly vaccines can sometimes create other health concerns.  In cats, for example, yearly vaccinations have been linked to feline injection site sarcomas.  Kansas State University’s titer test for rabies could save a pet from one more injection at the yearly exam.”3

The press release goes on to say that a titer test for rabies at KSU costs $30, and a test for rabies plus three additional core vaccines for either a cat or dog runs just $50.

These very reasonable titer test costs aren’t the norm, as many of my clients are quoted $200 to $350 by their vets for a canine distemper or parvovirus titer test.  It is my fervent hope that not only will antibody titer tests become the first choice in lieu of re-vaccination for core diseases in cats and dogs, but that the cost of those tests will become affordable for the majority of pet owners.

Nov 5 2013
< Source >

Leave a comment

Filed under education, health

The Pets Most Likely to Suffer from Vaccine Adverse Reactions

Story at-a-glance   {full story}

  • In the second half of a two-part interview, Dr. Becker talks with Dr. Ronald Schultz of the Rabies Challenge Fund about a variety of vaccine-related topics, including the mysterious rattlesnake vaccine, how it actually works, and for what snake in particular.
  • Dr. Becker and Dr. Schultz also discuss the Lyme disease vaccine, and under what circumstances it can prove beneficial, as well as the challenges of diagnosing leptospirosis and improvements in that vaccine in recent years.
  • Dr. Schultz also offers an excellent explanation of the various bordetella vaccines, what dogs really need them and how often, as well as what form of the vaccine he prefers.  He and Dr. Becker also discuss the pros and cons of the canine influenza vaccine.
  • Dr. Becker and Dr. Schultz  agree that veterinarians should discuss vaccines with pet owners before they vaccinate.  And Dr. Schultz offers his view on which pets are most likely to develop an adverse reaction to vaccines.
  • Lastly, Dr. Becker and Dr. Schultz discuss the important work the Rabies Challenge Fund is doing to determine the duration of immunity conveyed by rabies vaccines.  The goal is to extend the length of time between rabies vaccines to five years, then, if possible to seven years.  The project is in year six of a seven-year study and depends on grassroots funding to conduct the necessary clinical trials.  This week only, Mercola Healthy Pets will match every $1 donated by readers with a $2 donation, up to $30,000, to help the Rabies Challenge Fund complete its invaluable work toward reducing the number of vaccines our pets must receive during their lifetime.

——-
Nov 8 2013
http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2013/11/08/rattlesnake-vaccine.aspx?e_cid=20131108Z1_PetsNL_art_1&utm_source=petnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20131108Z1

Leave a comment

Filed under education, health

How Long Will Your Pet’s Rabies Shot Last? You Might Be Surprised…

Pet vaccines

Story at-a-glance   {full story}

  • Dr. Becker interviews Dr. Jean Dodds of the Rabies Challenge Fund to discuss a wide range of vaccine-related topics, including the confusion surrounding antibody titers – what they are and what they tell us about an animal’s protection against disease.
  • Dr. Dodds discusses the difference between “sterile” or lifetime immunity and the short-lived immunity provided by non-core vaccines against diseases like Lyme, lepto, bordetella, other upper respiratory/kennel cough-type viruses, and canine influenza. She also explains why intranasal bordetella vaccines are preferable to the injectable variety.
  • Dr. Becker and Dr. Dodds talk about the various types of antibody titer tests, the issue of conflicting results among tests, the role the animal’s veterinarian plays in decisions about whether or not to re-vaccinate, and the importance of administering single-agent vs. combination vaccines.
  • Dr. Dodds also discusses maternal immunity – what it is, its role in the timing of puppy and kitten shots, and the value in titering at 16 weeks to insure young animals have been immunized and not simply vaccinated.
  • Finally, Dr. Becker and Dr. Dodds discuss the important work the Rabies Challenge Fund is doing to determine the duration of immunity conveyed by rabies vaccines.  The goal is to extend the length of time between rabies vaccines to five years, then to seven.  The project is in year six of a seven-year study and depends on grassroots funding to conduct the necessary clinical trials.  This week only, Mercola Healthy Pets will match every $1 donated by readers with a $2 donation, up to $30,000, to help the Rabies Challenge Fund complete its invaluable work toward reducing the number of vaccines our pets must receive during their lifetime.

——-
Nov 4 2013
http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2013/11/04/antibody-titers.aspx?e_cid=20131104Z1_PetsNL_art_1&utm_source=petnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20131104Z1

Leave a comment

Filed under education, health