June 25, 2009

JUST SAY NO: INDIANA Rabies Law, Delaware County

Kris Christine weighs in this morning with a call to action for dog and cat lovers on potentially regressive rabies laws in Delaware County, Indiana. The State of Indiana rabies prevention and control guidelines extend the interval of rabies booster shots to three years. The county wants to roll back the clock - making annual rabies vaccine compulsory in order to ensure that all dogs get city licenses yearly.

Bad medicine and tax money - we've danced this dance before; we need not do so again.

The American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Feline Practitioners, the American Animal Hospital Association, immunologists and clinicians in 22 veterinary medical schools in North America agree that there is no medical benefit to redundant rabies vaccination.

The practice of tying the purchase of an unnecessary medical procedure to a county license may violate consumer protection laws - it requires consumers to purchase a product with no benefit.

In addition to contacting the people Kris suggests below, contact the Indiana State and Delaware County Attorneys!

The Muncie Delaware Humane Society (Indiana) has submitted a proposal to the County Council and Commissioners which would include imposing a tax on dogs as well as changing the county's current 3 year rabies immunization protocol to one requiring a yearly rabies booster for all dogs and cats in order to obtain a license.

Below is a copy of my letter to the county officials on behalf of The Rabies Challenge Fund opposing the proposed revision to the rabies protocol.

What You Can Do
Contact the Delaware County Council and Commissioners (contact information below) and ask them to reject the portion of the Humane Society's proposal which would change the current 3 year rabies ordinance.
County Commissioners Telephone Number: (765) 747-7730 Fax: (765) 747-7899 Don Dunnuck ddunnuck@co. delaware. in.us
Todd Donati tdonati@co.delaware .in.us
Larry W. Bledsoe, Jr. lbledsoe@co. delaware. in.us County Council Fax: (765) 741-3422
Kevin Nemyer knemyer@aol. com (765) 286-0962
Bradley Bookout bradleybookout@ comcast.net (765) 808-1484
James King jdkingsr@comcst. net (765) 286-9065
Mary Chambers mcouncil3@sbcglobal .net (765) 289-8928
Ted Bowman (765) 789-4931 Ronald Quakenbush rqdlctydist2@ yahoo.com (765) 759-8461
Chris Matchett, President cmatchett@co. delaware. in.us (765) 759-4725; cell: 765-730-5987 June 24, 2009

Delaware County Council and Commissioners
100 West Main Street
Muncie, IN 47305

RE: Humane Society Proposed Ordinance Change Affecting Rabies Immunization Protocol for Dogs

Greetings Council Members and Commissioners

This letter is a follow-up to my Tuesday conversations with Councilors Bowman and Chambers regarding an ordinance proposed by the Muncie Delaware Humane Society which would impose a tax on dogs in addition to revising the county's 3 year rabies immunization ordinance to require annual rabies boosters for dogs and cats in order to obtain licenses.

Delaware County's current Animal Care & Control Ordinance, Chapter 12, Section 3-12-1, which declares, "Rabies vaccination shall mean the injection by a licensed veterinarian of a dog/cat with a rabies vaccine licensed by the USDA and approved by the Indiana State Department of Health..." conforms to the Indiana state rabies protocol (Rule 5 Rabies Immunization, 345 IAC 1-5-1 Rabies Vaccination) as well as the recommendations of the American Veterinary Medical Association [1] and the Center for Disease Control's National Association of State Public Health Veterinarian' s 2008 Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control advising that: "Vaccines used in state and local rabies control programs should have at least a 3-year duration of immunity.... .... No laboratory or epidemiologic data exist to support the annual or biennial administration of 3- or 4-year vaccines following the initial series."

A regressive ordinance revision requiring annual rabies boosters for dogs and cats is medically unnecessary and scientifically unfounded. According to the American Animal Hospital Association, "The minimum DOI [duration of immunity] for killed rabies vaccine based on challenge studies is 3 years; based on antibody titers, it is considered to be up to 7 years.." [2] More frequent vaccination than is required to fully immunize an animal will not achieve further disease protection. Redundant annual rabies shots needlessly expose dogs and cats to the risk of adverse effects while obligating residents to pay unnecessary veterinary medical fees, which could violate Indiana's consumer protection laws and obligate veterinarians to engage in unprofessional conduct (Code 25-1) by administering medically unwarranted rabies vaccines in order for their clients to comply with the amended ordinance.

The American Veterinary Medical Association' s 2001 Principles of Vaccination state that "Unnecessary stimulation of the immune system does not result in enhanced disease resistance, and may increase the risk of adverse post-vaccination events."

It is recognized that most, if not all, currently licensed annual rabies vaccines given annually are actually the 3-year vaccine relabeled for annual use -- Colorado State University's Small Animal Vaccination Protocol for its veterinary teaching hospital states: "Even with rabies vaccines, the label may be misleading in that a three year duration of immunity product may also be labeled and sold as a one year duration of immunity product." According to Dr. Ronald Schultz of the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, whose canine vaccine studies form a large part of the scientific base for the 2003 and 2006 American Animal Hospital Association' s (AAHA) Canine Vaccine Guidelines, as well as the World Small Animal Veterinary Association' s 2007 Vaccine Guidelines, "There is no benefit from annual rabies vaccination and most one year rabies products are similar or identical to the 3-year products with regard to duration of immunity and effectiveness. " [3]

Immunologically, the rabies vaccine is the most potent of the veterinary vaccines and associated with significant adverse reactions such as polyneuropathy "resulting in muscular atrophy, inhibition or interruption of neuronal control of tissue and organ function, incoordination, and weakness," [4] auto-immune hemolytic anemia, [5] 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 all linked to the rabies vaccine. [6] [7] It is medically unsound for this vaccine to be given more often than is necessary to maintain immunity.

A "killed" vaccine, the rabies vaccine contains adjuvants to enhance the immunological response. In 1999, the World Health Organization "classified veterinary vaccine adjuvants as Class III/IV carcinogens with Class IV being the highest risk," [8] and the results of a study published in the August 2003 Journal of Veterinary Medicine documenting fibrosarcomas at the presumed injection sites of rabies vaccines stated, "In both dogs and cats, the development of necrotizing panniculitis at sites of rabies vaccine administration was first observed by Hendrick & Dunagan (1992)." [9] According to the 2003 AAHA Guidelines, "...killed vaccines are much more likely to cause hypersensitivity reactions (e.g., immune-mediated disease)." [10]

The Rabies Challenge Fund urges you to reject the portion of the Muncie Delaware Humane Society proposal which would amend Chapter 12 Section 3-12-1 of the Animal Care and Control Ordinance to require annual rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats. Sincerely,
Kris L. Christine
Founder, Co-Trustee
www.RabiesChallenge Fund.org
cc: Dr. W. Jean Dodds Dr. Ronald Schultz
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[1] American Veterinary Medical Association, 2007 RABIES VACCINATION PROCEDURES
[2] American Animal Hospital Association Canine Vaccine Task Force. 2003 Canine Vaccine Guidelines, Recommendations, and Supporting Literature, p.13
[3] Schultz, Ronald D.; What Everyone Needs to Know about Canine Vaccines, October 2007, http://www.puliclub .org/CHF/ AKC2007Conf/ What%20Everyone% 20Needs%20to% 20Know%20About% 20Canine% 20Vaccines. htm
[4]Dodds, W. Jean Vaccination Protocols for Dogs Predisposed to Vaccine Reactions, The Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, May/June 2001, Vol. 37, pp. 211-214
[5] Duval D., Giger U.Vaccine-Associate d Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia in the Dog, Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 1996; 10:290-295
[6] American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Executive Board, April 2001, Principles of Vaccination, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Volume 219, No. 5, September 1, 2001.
[7] Vascelleri, M. Fibrosarcomas at Presumed Sites of Injection in Dogs: Characteristics and Comparison with Non-vaccination Site Fibrosarcomas and Feline Post-vaccinal Fibrosarcomas; Journal of Veterinary Medicine, Series A August 2003, vol. 50, no. 6, pp. 286-291.
[8] IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans: Volume 74, World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Feb. 23-Mar. 2, 1999, p. 24, 305, 310.
[9] Vascelleri, M. Fibrosarcomas at Presumed Sites of Injection in Dogs: Characteristics and Comparison with Non-vaccination Site Fibrosarcomas and Feline Post-vaccinal Fibrosarcomas; Journal of Veterinary Medicine, Series A August 2003, vol. 50, no. 6, pp. 286-291.
[10] American Animal Hospital Association Canine Vaccine Task Force. 2003 Canine Vaccine Guidelines, Recommendations, and Supporting Literature, 28pp. and ibid. 2006 AAHA Canine Vaccine Guidelines, Revised, 28 pp.


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