February 13, 2008

Action Alert: Stop Unnecessary Rabies Vaccine in Young Pups

Greetings!

The Director of Animal Welfare, Norma Worley, is trying to change the
rabies immunization requirement for puppies from 6 months to 3 months
despite the fact that Maine hasn't had a documented case of a rabid
dog since 2003 and there have only been 5 documented cases since 1994
(14 years), and none of them were noted as being puppies.

Please read the testimony I presented in opposition to Section 7 of LD
2171 at yesterday's hearing before Maine's Agriculture Committee. If
you are concerned about this and wish to voice your opposition, PLEASE
e-MAIL THE COMMITTEE members by cutting and pasting their addresses
below and putting something like Oppose LD 2171 Section 7 in your
subject line.

The committee wants to hear from the dog-owning public, and if it
doesn't, you may end up being required to add a rabies vaccine into
the mix of puppyhood shots (distemper, hepatitis, parvo, etc..) that
are being administered at that age.

PERMISSION IS GRANTED TO POST AND CROSS-POST THIS MESSAGE!

Kris L. Christine

Below is a copy of the testimony I will present today.

Regards, Kris L. Christine

February 11, 2008

TO: The Agriculture, Conservation and Forest Committee

RE: LD 2171, An Act To Amend the Animal Welfare Laws

My name is Kris Christine and I live with my family in Alna,
Maine
. I am the Founder and Co-Trustee of The Rabies Challenge Fund (RCF).

My colleagues -- Dr. W. Jean Dodds of Hemopet, Co-Trustee of the RCF
and Dr. Ronald Schultz of The University of Wisconsin School of
Veterinary Medicine,currently conducting 5 & 7 year rabies challenge
studies for the RCF -- are the world's two leading veterinary vaccine
research scientists.

I am here to testify against Sec. 7. 7 MRSA §3916, sub-§1-A
of LD 2171, which would amend the law to require that puppies be
vaccinated against rabies at 3 months of age rather than 6.

There is no scientific or epidemiological data justifying
amendment of this law as there has been no increase in rabies in
puppies under the age of 6 months in the State of Maine. Dr. Donald
Hoenig,Maine' s State Public Health Veterinarian, told me on Wednesday,
February 6th that "The last case of canine rabies in Maine was in
2003.......there have only been 5 cases of canine rabies in the past
14 years in Maine.Cases of canine rabies are EXTREMELY UNUSUAL."

Five cases of rabies in dogs since 1994 (no mention was made
of these cases being puppies under 6 months of age), with the last one
being in 2003, evidences the fact that the current law requiring
puppies be vaccinated against rabies at 6 months of age is effective
at controlling rabies in Maine's canine community and does not need to
be changed.

Vaccinating puppies at too young an age can be ineffective. The 2003
American Animal Hospital Association' s (AAHA) Canine Vaccine
Guidelines reports on Page 17 (Attachment #1) that: "…when puppies are
first vaccinated at > 16 weeks of age (an age when passively acquired
antibodies generally don't cause interference) , one dose of an MLV
vaccine, or two doses of a killed vaccine, are adequate to stimulate
an immune response."

On Page 16 of the 2003 AAHA Guidelines (Attachment #2), it states
that:"When vaccinating an animal, the age of the animal, the animal's
immune status, and interference by maternal antibodies in the
development of immunity must be considered. Research has demonstrated
that the presence of passively acquired maternal antibodies interferes
with the immune response to many canine vaccines, including CPV, CDV,
CAV-2 and rabies vaccines."

The 2006 AAHA Guidelines (Attachment #3), states on Page 13 as the
most common reason for vaccination failure that "the puppy has a
sufficient amount of passively acquired maternal antibody (PAMA) to
block the vaccine..... ." The older the puppy is when it receives its
first rabies vaccination, the more likely it will elicit the desired
immunological response – as demonstrated by the extraordinarily low
number of canine rabies cases in Maine over a 14 year period under the
current 6 month vaccination protocol for puppies.

Rabies, a "killed" vaccine, is the most potent of the
veterinary vaccines and is associated with clinically significant
adverse reactions -- it should only been given when warranted.
According to the 2003AAHA Guidelines (Page 16) (Attachment #2),
"...killed vaccines are much more likely to cause hypersensitivity
reactions (e.g., immune-mediated disease)." Further, the AAHA task
force reports on Page 18 (Attachment #4) that, "Bacterial vaccines,
especially killed whole organism products …..are much more likely to
cause adverse reactions than subunit or live bacterial vaccines or MLV
vaccines, especially if given topically. Several killed bacterial
products are used as immunomodulators/ adjuvants. Thus, their presence
in a combination vaccine product may enhance or suppress the immune
response or may cause an undesired response (e.g., IgE
hypersensitivity or a class of antibody that is not protective). "

Adverse reactions such autoimmune diseases affecting the thyroid,
joints, blood, eyes, skin, kidney, liver, bowel and central nervous
system; anaphylactic shock; aggression; seizures; epilepsy; and
fibrosarcomas at injection sites are linked to rabies vaccinations.

In sum, the law, as it currently stands requiring puppies to be
vaccinated at 6 months of age is and has been effective at
controlling rabies in Maine's canine population. There is no
epidemiological or scientific rationale for changing this law and
prematurely exposing puppies to the potentially harmful, sometimes
fatal, adverse side affects of the rabies vaccine prior to the age of
6 months.

Respectfully submitted,

Kris L. Christine

Founder, Co-Trustee

THE RABIES CHALLENGE FUND

SenJohn.Nutting@ legislature. maine.gov; Rsherm_2000@ yahoo.com; wpieh@lincoln. midcoast. com; RepJackie.Lundeen@ legislature. maine.gov; piotti@uninets. net; RepTimothy.Carter@ legislature. maine.gov; RepBen.Pratt@ legislature. maine.gov; lindonfarm@sacorive r.net; RepDon.Marean@ legislature. maine.gov; pedgecom@maine. rr.com; RepDean.Cray@ legislature. maine.gov ; RepJeff.Gifford@ legislature. maine.gov; Melissa.Wright@ legislature. maine.gov; mrotundo@bates. edu

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