The Science Has Been Done

The scientific evidence for the reduction or elimination of most animal vaccines is summed up in three words: few, seldom or never.

Current Rabies Science

  • In multiple, independent studies, veterinary medical scientists have identified a temporal association between adverse reactions like Vaccine Associated Sarcoma (VAS) in cats and Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA) and Immune Mediated Thrombocytopenia (IMT) in dogs and cats. (Gobar, Glenna M, Kass, Phillip H, World wide web based survey of vaccination practices, postvaccinational reactions, and vaccine site associated sarcomas in cats JAVMA, Vol. 220, No 10, May 15, 2002.)

  • All rabies vaccines currently licensed by the USDA as three-year vaccines are proven to have minimum duration of immunity of three years by challenge. All data submitted to the USDA demonstrated 100% efficacy for three years. This represents the minimum duration of immunity and the maximum duration of immunity is likely much longer. (Of course no vaccine is 100% effective; there will be rare vaccine breaks. This is because a bite that occurs close to a cranial nerve allows the virus to readily enter the CNS. The animal will get rabies regardless of how many vaccinations it has had.)

  • Rabies vaccine has been demonstrated to have a minimum duration of immunity of seven years by serology by Dr Ron Schultz, Professor and Chair, Patho-biological Sciences, the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine and four years for cats and five years for dogs by challenge by Michel F. Aubert. (Schultz, Ronald D, Duration of Immunity to Canine Vaccines: What We Know and What We Don’t Know, Proceedings – Canine Infectious Diseases: From Clinics to Molecular Pathogenesis, Ithaca, NY, 1999, 22)

  • French scientist, Michel Aubert’s study shows that the chances of a dog or cat developing rabies in the United States that has had one rabies vaccination is less than one in eight million, (<1:8,000,000) By contrast, you have a greater than one in 600,000 chance of being struck by lightning if you stand in a thunderstorm. (Aubert Michel F, The practical significance of rabies antibodies in cats and dogs, Scientific and Technical Revue, 11(3) 735, 1992 Paris, France)

No medical benefit

Yet the practice of re-vaccination at one or three-year intervals persists. This is purely on the basis of precedent, not science.

  • According to a landmark report on dogs and cat vaccines published in 2002 by the AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents (COBTA), there is no scientific basis for annual revaccination. Re-administering rabies vaccine does not enhance disease resistance and may expose animals to unnecessary risk.

To be perfectly clear: the duration of a license may expire; the shelf life of a drug may expire; a dog or cat's immunity to rabies does not expire.

This forces consumers, i.e., pet owners, to buy a product with no medical benefit and the potential for considerable harm. Moreover, it is costly far beyond the price of annual rabies shots.

Cost to consumers

  • According to cat owners recently facing vaccine associated sarcoma (VAS,) surgical removal and post-operative care for cats with injection site cancer is around $6,000. VAS treatment expenses that reach $10,000 are becoming common. When post-op care includes radiation and chemotherapy, veterinary medical expense easily double those costs to $20,000. The death rate in VAS cats is 100%.

The expense of acute dysfunction is just the tip of the iceberg. The real bonanza for veterinary professionals is in chronic dysfunction.

Ear and skin conditions are the most common problems veterinarians deal with day to day. Often pet owners report that these begin shortly after rabies shots and are exacerbated with every subsequent inoculation.

Chronic, incurable health issues are detrimental to a dog or cat’s quality of life and longevity. Treatment is emotionally and financially draining to its family.

This begs the question: cui bono? Who benefits?

“There are no laboratory or epidemiologic data to support the annual or biennial administration of 3- year vaccines following the initial series.”
National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control, 2003

Grant Rabies Medical Exemption
to Sick and Senior Pets

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