December 30, 2008

Odds Your Dog or Cat Will Get Rabies

In 1992, Michel Aubert, a French research scientist concluded that a dog or cat with at least one rabies vaccination has a less than 1 in 8 million chance of contracting the rabies virus if exposed.

Yet 18 years later, the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV), who write "the Bible" on rabies control and prevention, still advocate for redundant rabies vaccine minimally every three years.

Yet most city and county laws continue to mandate annual rabies vaccination - regardless of the age, health condition or proximity of a pet's exposure to wildlife - in order to reduce the risk of human exposure to rabies.

So just how risky is a less than one in 8 million chance?

Based on recent National Safety Council data, every day living is a lot riskier for us:

Motor vehicle accident: 1 in 6,539

Exposure to noxious substances: 1 in 12,554

Assault by firearm: 1 in 24,005

Accidental drowning: 1 in 82,777

Exposure to smoke, fire or flames: 1 in 92,745

Exposure to forces of nature (lightning, flood, storms, etc.): 1 in 136,075

Falling out of bed or off other furniture: 1 in 329,819

Choking on food: 1 in 343,179

Air and space transport accidents: 1 in 502,554

Exposure to electric current, radiation, temperature, and pressure: 1 in 705,969

Being bitten, stung or crushed by another person or animal: 1 in 1,841,659

The opinion of the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents states,

“Local and regional regulatory authorities mandate revaccination schedules including some that are more frequent than necessary as demonstrated by scientific evidence. (Ref: Klingborg, Hustead, Curry Galvan, AVMA Council On Biologic and Therapeutic Agent’s report on cat and dog vaccines, JAVMA,Vol 221, No 10, Nov 15, 2002.)

In fact, there's a far greater chance that Earth will be struck by a killer asteroid in the next year than a dog or cat with just ONE rabies inoculation has of contracting rabies if exposed. That would be 1 in 2,518,072. In other words, there's a 99.999975% chance the thing will miss us.

I'll take those odds.


Anonymous said...

Not sure if I would take that chance.. We lost our 16 year old son to rabies in May of 2006.. I would strongly urge anyone to be very cautious when dealing with wild "or for that matter even domestic" animals if you are unsure if they are updated with their rabies shots.. A bat was the cause of my sons death.. Education is the foundation of rabies prevention. Rabies is preventative.

Pamela said...

I'm sorry for your loss. However, over-vaccinating dogs and cats a million times over with rabies vaccine would do nothing to prevent what occurred to your son. He was bitten by a bat, not a dog or cat with at least one rabies shot.

Antor Biswas said...

Here's my response, and I welcome any outside input that could help Lauren figure out these issues. I could especially use some help on the height of food dishes — I've heard some people say a raised bowl reduces a dog's chance of bloat and others say exactly the opposite. I'm not honestly sure what the correct answer is, so I welcome some insight on that matter.