Whole Dog Journal's Blog April 12, 2018

Rabies Shots for Senior Dogs: Why I Fear and Loathe Them

Posted at 09:21AM - Comments: (79)

I recently received something I have been dreading for some time: a letter from my city animal control department, reminding me that itís time to pay for my dogsí annual licenses Ė and that Otto, my senior dog, needs a rabies vaccination before he can be licensed again.

I adopted Otto on June 16, 2008. He was brought into the shelter as a stray dog on May 7, 2008. He was estimated to be about six months old, and was vaccinated that day with a five-way vaccination (distemper, adenovirus-type 2, coronavirus, parainfluenza, and parvovirus) and a separate three-way vaccination (adenovirus-type 2, parainfluenza, and bordetella) made by a different company.

On May 14, 2008, he was given a rabies vaccine.

Otto was vaccinated several more times with the five-way vaccines before I adopted him, but I’m not going to talk about those vaccines right now; I want to focus on the rabies vaccine – the only vaccine that dog owners are legally required to give their dogs in most states. Rabies vaccination earned this “special” legal status due to the historical threat that rabies poses to humans; as recently as my childhood in the 1960s, domestic dogs and cats were still common vectors for spreading this deadly disease to humans. Thanks to vaccination laws, this is no longer the case. Today, the most common vectors for rabies are bats, raccoons, and skunks.

Nevertheless, there are laws that require dogs to be vaccinated against rabies in all of the United States. All of the states save three (Kansas, Minnesota, and Ohio) require dogs to be vaccinated against rabies at least every three years; in those three states that lack state laws that require rabies vaccination for dogs, there are city and county laws that require it. (Curious about your state? All of the states’ statutes regarding rabies vaccinations are collected in this terrific website.)

In California, where I live, dogs are required to have their first rabies vaccination at the age of four months, their second no more than a year later, and additional rabies vaccinations every three years after that.

license requirement letter

So far, I have complied with my state laws regarding rabies vaccination. Otto was vaccinated for rabies again on April 2, 2009, and again on March 20, 2012.

His most recent rabies vaccination was on October 28, 2015. (Note that we were out of compliance with state law from March 21, 2015 through October 28, 2015.) So he is “due” for a rabies vaccination by October 28 of this year.

Why Should I Dread Another Rabies Vaccine for My Dog?

All vaccinations pose some risk, which must be weighed against their benefit. Since rabies is a fatal disease, is present in the United States, and carried by wild animals (bats, raccoons, and skunks are the most common vectors), and since we live in an area where all three of those vectors are present, I believe that immunization against rabies is a terrific idea. That said, it’s been demonstrated that dogs can be safely immunized against the disease with fewer vaccinations – and that the rabies vaccine can present serious adverse side effects in dogs.

It’s anecdotal, but in my own experience, senior dogs are more likely to suffer adverse effects from rabies vaccinations. My last senior dog, Rupert, had suffered from environmental and dietary allergies his whole life. In his later years, these were fairly well under control, with assiduous management of his diet. But he did have a massive allergy flare-up within a month of his last rabies shot, and getting the allergies under control again took a while. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard friends and acquaintances say, “My senior dog was perfectly healthy until not long after his last rabies shot; he just sort of fell apart after that!” Maybe these were all coincidental; after all, statistically, senior dogs are at higher risk of all health problems. But the risk of these adverse effects is unwarranted in dogs who have already been immunized against the disease!

The Rabies Challenge Fund has been working for a decade to extend the legally required interval for rabies vaccinations to five and then seven years, in an effort to reduce the number of unnecessary vaccinations our dogs would be required to have over their lifetimes. (Note: If you are looking for a great charity to support, consider a donation to this non-profit; their work, which has been funded to date largely by breed clubs and individual dog owners, will benefit countless millions of dogs.)

On January 25, 2018, the Rabies Challenge Fund announced, “Results to date of the Rabies Challenge Fund research study showed protection from live rabies virus challenge five years after the dogs received two doses of rabies virus vaccine. Other data are still being collected and analyzed for the 6.5 and 7-year post-vaccination periods.” In other words, the Fund’s studies are proving what had been hypothesized: the rabies vaccines work for longer than their makers were willing to prove they work, so dogs don’t need to be given as many vaccines over their lifetimes in order to be protected against contracting the disease and/or infecting others.

It will take some time, however, for these promising results to be used to change state laws, to extend those vaccination requirements.

Avoiding Rabies Vaccine Legal Requirements

Currently, there is only one way to get a legal exemption from vaccinating your dog: to have a veterinarian help you apply for an exemption from your state or local animal control authorities. Each state has a different process (again, see the terrific resource, RabiesAware.org); in California, a veterinarian must submit an annual request for an exemption, and be able to verify and document that a rabies vaccination would endanger your dog’s life.

I know people who, unable to convince a veterinarian of the potential risk of a fifth, sixth, or even seventh rabies vaccination to their senior dogs have, instead, reported their dogs to their local animal control agencies as “deceased.”

Given Otto’s high-visibility job (modeling for both WDJ and its Instagram page), I’m not sure I could pull that one off. But I have until October 28 to figure out an alternative. (Although, because my city’s animal control department won’t issue Otto another license until his legal rabies vaccine period is longer than the licensing period, he is currently unlicensed. If he gets picked up as a stray or bites someone before all this is resolved, the fines will be much higher than they would be if he were currently licensed. Not that either of those things are going to happen, but still…)

I don’t want to sound like I’m being frivolous about a disease that can kill people. But again, the possibility that my four-times vaccinated dog could possibly get or transmit the virus is virtually zero – and the possibility that the vaccine could adversely affect him is far higher. I think four vaccines is sufficient, and I’m looking for a way to stay within the bounds of the law while avoiding any more vaccines.

Are you concerned about administering the rabies vaccine to your senior dog? Have you pursued a way to avoid this? Spill it in the comments, below!

Comments (79)

Our 10 year old standard poodle got the rabies vaccine and 2 weeks later, to the day, she was dead. That was two weeks ago today. She had no other health issues that we knew of; her blood tests 6 months earlier came back showing her to be healthy. She took long walks with us and played with the ball nonstop until we got tired. 9 days after getting the vaccine she started coughing and a friend suggested she had the dog flu, which I found mystifying since she never went to dog parks or pet hotels or anything like that, but she did have those symptoms. We nursed her as if she had the dog flu but by day 14 she took a bad turn in the night and ended up dying in the middle of the night as we sat with her. We were shocked and heartbroken, never expecting her to die from the flu. I figured her immune system had been, at least, weakened by the vaccine, and that it had contributed to her death. But then tonight I stumbled upon an article by a vet whose own dog died of the rabies vaccine and I started wondering if that's what killed her. Then I found this site. Just like the person commenting below, our dog died 2 weeks after receiving the vaccine. And when I look at the rabies vaccine side effects, they are similar to the flu. One thing that was odd was that her legs were very stiff and her feet were curling on that last night--we thought it was from laying around a lot that day and being stiff--she had stiff legs anyways and needed glucosamine to run around without pain. Another comment below talked about their dogs legs not working also. She also threw up that night for the first time. I was planning to take her in to the vet early the next morning if she had not improved. We will never know the true cause of her death since I was too shocked and stunned at 3:30 in the morning and didn't want to see her become bloated by death, so we took her to be cremated right away and didn't think to have an autopsy. But this is certainly suspicious and I am ready to support that organization challenging the excessive use of vaccines. She was an excellent dog and I will miss her very much.

Posted by: Kirsten C | November 3, 2018 1:36 AM    Report this comment

My 8 year old husky died this week two weeks after receiving her rabies jab. I live in Spain where it is the law to vaccinate yearly. I travel and compete a lot so have no choice but to comply. My girl had a runny nose which I thought was an allergy. The vet said it was OK to vaccinate. We have a nasty parasite here called leishmaniasis which I was worried might be comproming her immune system. The vet didn't think she had it as she had no symptoms. I took my girl back to the vet the following week as I was still worried about her. I got them to test for it and do a full blood panel. It came back on the Thursday that she had high levels of the parasite and liver and kidneys were falling. She was started on meds to help improve the kidney and liver function. On Saturday she stopped eating so I was force feeding her. On the evening she was chasing a ball round the field and looked happy. On Sunday she started pacing, through up before bed time and then slept close to me. She threw up again in the morning and I thought the chicken soup I had given her was too rich. She felt better though and wanted to come out for a walk with the other dogs. We walked for an hour and she peed and pooped normally. Back home she started to pace again. I noticed her eyes were staring in the air and she was walking into the walls. I crated her to stop her and waited for the vet to open for the afternoon surgery. By then her legs were going. By the time we got to the vets her legs were worse. They put her on a drip and kept her in. She wasn't able to pee the fluids out and she deteriated and passed in the early hours of the morning. T vets were shocked out how fast she had gone. The symptoms were the same as for a rabid dog. She had always had her rabies and normal vacs at least a month apart and I had stopped giving her the normal vacs at 6 years after my old dog was diagnosed with liver failure. She was fed raw. Her son is due his booster next month. I will blood test him the week before to make sure he is healthy as you can't see kidney failure. I am also considering moving back to the UK as there dogs only need the rabies vac every three years and that is only if you want to leave the country.

Posted by: Rachel178 | October 19, 2018 8:58 AM    Report this comment

My Golden Retriever is 13 yrs 4 mos. old. It's time for his annual shots. Since 2015 I've had titers done and he's been able to not have his shots, but last week his test showed he didn't have immunity for Parvo. Now I'm torn about whether or not to give him the vaccine. I've already decided that when his rabies shot comes due that I won't give him that one. My vet doesn't give just Parvo vaccine, but only the combo shot. I know that some vets do and if I decide to vaccinate him for Parvo, I'll go somewhere else to get just the Parvo part. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

Posted by: Marge Gutsch | September 18, 2018 6:48 PM    Report this comment

My dog Joe is almost 14. He is a yorkie/dachshund mix (dorkie, 25lbs!) from the time he was a puppy up until he was 12 I had him on Banfields wellness program. I followed up with all his vaccinations, yearly teeth cleaning, etc. At age twelve I decided enough was enough and I was not going to risk unnecessary vaccinations and anesthesia for the teeth medical procedure. At 14 his teeth and gums are perfectly beautiful and healthy... I figured brushing them was much safer than anesthesia.

He's been on a steady diet of Royal Canine for about six years, gets a small bacon type treat now and then, I give him Rejuvenate for his hip and joint relief and Vet Classics No Scoot for the anal glands.

My city has never asked or requested license info... I would gladly pay the $10 though. But absolutely refuse to give him another rabies vaccination.

Joe sleeps lots more but other than that he's still acts childish and silly, full of life. Runs around, gets tired a little faster and is slower making it up stairs... But absolutely no signs of pain. His eyes are crisp and clean, his coat is long and beautiful, I gotta brush him out about two times a day though. He has just started showing signs of silver along his back. He has no eye staining at all, I clean his eye boogers usually twice a day.

I was fortunate to be able to retire at 30... So, Joe and I have been inseparable his whole life. I can only pray he makes it another ten years or more. Regardless, when that time comes I will know I gave it all I got. I've never laid a hand on him in anger, he's a good boy!

Posted by: Keough | August 3, 2018 2:27 AM    Report this comment

I am trying to find out when rabies vaccines became mandatory for licensing of dogs in the U.S. I know that they weren't when my parents were growing up in the 1920's and 30's. I wonder if date of application in each state was different, or if they all came under the illegal 'mandate' at the same time.

I've been wondering if it was in the 1950's, because in the back of my mind, it seems as though I read it somewhere a long time ago. I would find that interesting, since discovering Disney's association with Monsanto and pharmaceuticals, and that movie "Old Yeller" which was released in the 50's, a heart-tugging story about the tragedy of a dog infected with rabies.

Posted by: Suki49 | July 30, 2018 9:14 PM    Report this comment

I have recently added a 3rd rescue to our household. All of my dogs are from Tijuana Mexico. They must show current and up to date vaccine records in order to cross into the US. Since our first adoption I have become aware of how over vaccinated dogs are that circulate through rescues. If an adoption fails the new owner usually takes the dog to their own Vet and they revaccinate. My first 2 dogs had 2 failed adoptions and an unknown number of vaccines given; in addition to the vaccines given in Mexico. The State of California will not accept vaccines from out of the State even with prove from the actual vaccine bottle with serial number & lot number on the official label. My new addition is estimated to be between 8-10 years old. I have his vaccine record from Mexico and I have already been through this with Animal Control with my other 2 dogs. I believe the science is now confirming that all of my dogs should have adequate immunity to rabies for the remainder of their lives. However, Animal Control will not budge on this issue. I think I am going to ignore licensing my new dog and take my chances with paying a fine if an issue ever develops. My family knows all to well about auto-immune diseases. Myself and one of my sons developed serious auto-immune issues after receiving vaccines. The 2 dogs we owned before the current household of dogs suffered from all kinds of auto-immune issues: arthritis, IBD, & asthma. I'm not against responsible vaccination, but we have gone crazy with the "birth to grave" model of continuous vaccination. Especially with my new senior dog I want to exercise prudence to ensure he can have the remainder of his years as healthy as they can be.

Posted by: SharonK | April 17, 2018 3:20 PM    Report this comment

.....and as far as a way to avoid the vaccine>
In my state, the maximum penalty for not licensing a dog is $95, assuming they figure out the dog should be licensed. I have over $5000 in veterinary costs since that rabies vaccine. I'll happily pay the penalty in the future.

Posted by: MTGal | April 16, 2018 4:53 PM    Report this comment

Nancy you are right to be concerned. Sept 2016 I took my two 9 yo dogs into the vet for their annual blood workup and a new vet would not work on them because they did not have a recent rabies vax. I had not revax'd since their booster at 4 and did not intend to. My husband pushed for the vaccine and against my better judgement, I relented. I told myself they were so healthy the odds were slim they would have a problem. Within 2 months of the shot, one of my boys began a slow, relentless slide into serious health issues. To name just a few - seizures and most recently bloat that nearly killed him. He survived but while they were doing surgery noted discoloration in his spleen (removed) and nodules on his liver that biopsy indicates is hemangiosarcoma. He is given 1-2 months to live. I am hoping to extend that using homeopathy and a ketogenic diet but his odds are not good. Coincidence? Possibly, but like Nancy I've seen this too many times with friends dogs and now my own, to not make the link to the vaccine. Never again will I give a vaccine past 8 years of age or possibly less. I'll do anything and everything I can to avoid it.

Posted by: MTGal | April 16, 2018 3:37 PM    Report this comment

I live in a rural county that is larger in area than the State of Rhode Island. Rabies is nothing to ignored. Every year volunteers go up in planes and drop bait loaded with vaccine for raccoons, foxes, and coyotes. And every year someone's living is wiped out by a rabid fox going through their dairy herd and some children have to go through the rabies shot protocol because they petted a stray dog or cat that took off.
Every year the county Public Health Department gives free rabies clinics around all the towns starting in spring into fall all delivered by licensed nurses aids and supervised by vets.
I know that anyone reading this article is concerned for their dog, but don't allow yourself to be used as an example for a neighbor down the block who says that you take care of your dogs and you don't bother about rabies so why should they.
And, by the way, at least in my county, the money paid for dog licenses goes to pay for damages done by stray dogs to property or pets or livestock.

Posted by: peppersmum | April 16, 2018 2:53 PM    Report this comment

How fortunate the canine community is to have vets and reasearchers (Dr. Jean Dodds, Ron Schultz, PhD and others) working diligently to prove the longstanding effect of the rabies vaccine. The back of every vaccine bottle should clearly state: ďto be administered to healthy petsĒ. I would venture to guess all too often immuno compromised, and other ill pets are regularly given these injections, unbeknownst to the owner. Killed or Modified live vaccines carry toxic adjuvants. Is it any wonder our precious companions are having severe reactions from them? The recent web docuseries: The Truth About Pet Cancer only reiterates the possible harmful consequences of vaccines. 7 powerful episodes, we purchased the series to share with others. I chose to forgo the last rabies vaccine for my 14 year young Greyhound. Tough call Nancy......

Posted by: Houndz6 | April 15, 2018 7:57 PM    Report this comment

I belong to a Obedience club and they insist on the rabies shot.

Posted by: flashpwd1 | April 15, 2018 6:18 PM    Report this comment

Thank you for this excellent article, Nancy. I want to make one point. You state that, "... in California, a veterinarian must submit an annual request for an exemption, and be able to verify and document that a rabies vaccination WOULD ENDANGER YOUR DOG'S LIFE." (Emphasis added.) I went through the process of getting a medical exemption in lieu of a rabies vaccination for my senior dog 10 years ago and so I'm familiar with the process. I definitely had to advocate for the exemption for her. With that said, the point I want to make is that everyone should check their state and any applicable local laws for the wording of the statute, if their state provides for a medical exemption. They don't all require that a rabies vaccination endanger your dog's life as a prerequisite to allowing an exemption. My state's statute provides, "A city, village or town may exempt the owner of a dog from the requirement to have the dog vaccinated against rabies for a year based on a letter from a veterinarian stating that VACCINATION IS INADVISABLE because of a reaction to a previous vaccination, a physical condition, or a regimen of therapy that the dog is undergoing." (Emphasis added.)

Posted by: LuckyMom | April 14, 2018 12:16 PM    Report this comment

My shitzu Leah got idiopathic thombositapedia (sp?) after getting her yearly shots at age 3. After $$$ and. Many touch and go with transfusions she survived and lived for 13 years with no more shots of any kind. I illegally did not license her again and was rather fearful of her being found out as an illegal😃But took the chance on the side of caution. Would not the tine test be an alternative? Jersey also requires rabies/3 for license. Conni K

Posted by: Conkea | April 14, 2018 9:12 AM    Report this comment

My shitzu Leah got idiopathic thombositapedia (sp?) after getting her yearly shots at age 3. After $$$ and. Many touch and go with transfusions she survived and lived for 13 years with no more shots of any kind. I illegally did not license her again and was rather fearful of her being found out as an illegal😃But took the chance on the side of caution. Would not the tine test be an alternative? Jersey also requires rabies/3 for license. Conni K

Posted by: Conkea | April 14, 2018 9:11 AM    Report this comment

I live in Anaheim, California. In the past when license renewal came around, if the rabies vaccination for the dog listed on it expired within the next licensing period the following renewal would be due upon the expiration date of the vaccination (this was usually only a difference of a few days). Starting this year, if the rabies vaccination expires anytime during the licensing period, the dog must be vaccinated. Orange County Animal Care will be glad to take my money for the new licensing period, however my dog wonít be legal until they receive evidence that he has been vaccinated. The kicker is that his rabies vaccination expires April 25, 2019 and the new licensing period will end on April 27, 2019. HOW STUPID IS THIS?! Although there is a grace period of 15 days for the receipt by OCAC of renewals, the county is trying to make expiration dates a ďhard setĒ one year period! Donít the ignorant county supervisors understand that there are variables making it difficult and unfair to do this? Many veterinarians have certain days during the week where they offer reduced rates on vaccinations. Frequently the timing is just wrong for everything to fall in place to actually cover for a year by a hard set renewal date. The licensing period may expire on a Sunday, mail delivery may vary by a day or two, etc. Wasnít it better for the dog and more economical for the owner to have the license expiration date adjusted to allow for a rabies vaccination expiration date that was a few days earlier? Iím in favor of having the county supervisors who created this mess tarred and feathered, run out of the county and not allowed to return!

Posted by: KritterMom | April 13, 2018 8:19 PM    Report this comment

Nancy, thank you for your thoughtful commentary on this complex and difficult issue. I pray that some day, the Rabies Challenge research will change the outdated laws in our country. We opted not to administer another vaccine to our dog (of any kind) and just titer. We will accept legal responsibility for that. If I had it to do over again, I'd never license another dog.

Posted by: Qsmom | April 13, 2018 6:51 PM    Report this comment

You could ask your vet to do a titer count, which is checking blood work to see if there is rabies vacine still in blood. If so, they do not, and should not have, another shot. Hope this works.

Posted by: Dogart | April 13, 2018 5:24 PM    Report this comment

My dog fell apart a week after his vaccination against distemper, parvo, etc. He was old and had serious health issues. I told the vet about new health complications, but he ignored it. He died 2 weeks after that.

Posted by: DogOwner | April 13, 2018 1:01 PM    Report this comment

I had a elderly dog with some sort of immune problem. His rabies titer came back borderline. His holistic vet said it was fine. His conventional vet felt he needed it. I argued that we could vaccinate this particular dog and his titers would remain borderline . He was not given the vaccine and I signed a paper to protect the vet.

Posted by: S. Stan | April 13, 2018 12:46 PM    Report this comment

Nancy, Yes what a dilemma we have. I have a almost 14 year old Golden Retriever, he & I did 10.5 years of volunteering in courtrooms, Pet Therapy Chairman at local hospital for 13.5 yrs, and so many other facilities/environments. We logged a little over 4000 hours with all the places.
However, I decided almost 4 yrs ago thats it LAVIE(LA for short). No more shots of any kind. We had been doing titers sense 2005. For those who have a Golden, forgive me, but your nuts if you keep giving shots rather than titers!
I have a 4 yr Golden who took over for LAVIE, Eli is on "titers only" & rabies shot from a holistic Vet. But, I did not tell the county so I don't pay them. But, I have a legal document stating he has his rabies shot.
The sad part, NOBODY, but us owners care about our Animals & I believe if we take the time to "educate ourselves" we will have healthier Animals.
Keep up the great work Nancy.

Posted by: Scott Baggett | April 13, 2018 12:32 PM    Report this comment

Thank you for this article. I have a senior who I may try to somehow exempt when her next vaccination is due. I like the syringe in the trash approach. I can remember my stepmother furious because her toy poodle became seriously ill after receiving a rabies vaccine. Not one to mince words, she called her vet and game him a large piece of her mind. She swore she would never vaccinate the dog again (ahead of her time, since this was probably 40 years ago). A somewhat risky decision considering she worked for the county at the time. That memory of her stomping around the house, swearing, telling anyone who would listen, always comes to mind when I have to get the dreaded rabies vaccinations for my dogs.

Posted by: MJC | April 13, 2018 10:38 AM    Report this comment

I live in Sonoma county CA. My vet, for my senior dogs (over 8), has provided a letter to the County indicating no vaccination due to age. The county has accepted that with no issue.

Posted by: Kmdaly | April 13, 2018 10:37 AM    Report this comment

Does someone know if a titer test for rabies can be recognize at US border? I will love to not have to vaccinate again my senior 13 years old pug!

Posted by: DanDan | April 13, 2018 9:54 AM    Report this comment

Thank you, Nancy, for starting this very important exchange. It was through exchanges like these and conversations that I learned how to best do what was right, legally and for the health of my first dog. (First dogs teach us so much, donít they?) By the time she was due for a rabies booster around the age of 7, she already had 2 autoimmune diseases. Luckily, the state of NJ will waive the rabies vaccine requirement if a vet will sign off on it, citing health reasons. When I went to renew her license with our town, the woman behind the counter challenged my vetís letter on his letterhead! She was older and probably very set in her ways. I asked her, sweetly of course, where she got her own vetís license. Luckily, I had printed out the stateís stance and when she still fussed, another woman in the office (probably the office manager) had her stand down and took over the license process. It was the last time I had my dogs licensed. I had already heard about Dr. Jean Dodds and even attended her seminar with Dr. Schultz when they kicked off the Rabies Challenge. Because we hiked with our dogs offlead frequently and my first dog had quite the prey drive (she killed a groundhog nearly as long as she was!), I had her titered for rabies annually, to make sure she had protection. When our third dog came into our family without health records, I had her titered for everything. It was clear that she was never given the rabies vaccine, so she had to have it then and a booster a year later. She was titered again within that year and showed immunity. I wasnít happy about the booster, but my vet was sympathetic and did something to ameliorate the possible bad effects. Although we no longer live in NJ year-round, I will make sure her next booster is with this vet when we go back to the state to visit. After that, she will be around 9-10 and done with boosters. The rabies titers will be continued, as it is my understanding that Dr. Jean uses the results as a longitudinal study on each dog. When we moved, what I learned from my first dog was to find vets that the area performance competitors use (one conventional; one alternative) that are aligned with my experience. (Must listen to my concerns and must agree with titers and raw feeding.) Thanks again for creating a forum for this wonderful exchange of ideas and experience!

Posted by: Poodolls | April 13, 2018 8:50 AM    Report this comment

My 8 yr old died from Rabies Vaccinosis. She became needy, nipped at my niece, then face became paralyzed, drooling, foaming mouth, lesions in her brain, weakness. All symptoms of rabies vaccinosis.. a few months after her vaccine. I tried everything to save her. Holistic meds, steroids..to no avail. Needless to say, Iím terrified to give my other dogs the vaccine. The Non holistic vet barely believes thatís what it was. And says the chances of it happening to another one of my dogs is rare. Titers Iíll get them, but like another comment that was said, it doesnít help with the law. Good luck with Otto. Keep us posted.

Posted by: Ikin22 | April 13, 2018 8:24 AM    Report this comment

I tried to get out of having my 16 year old dog into having a rabies 3-year vaccination, for the reasoning of his frailty and low risk of contracting the disease. My vet wasn't too keen on giving it also but seeing that he made it to that ripe age she convinced me that it probably wouldn't harm him. He lived until 17.
His decline was a few months after the vaccine and I did wonder if it was a factor. I had rooted for him to go to 20 years. Reading this article l am thinking of how I could have helped him live longer. After he passed I had a hard time checking off the "deceased" box for license renewal, but after reading everyone's experiences, maybe that should have been done long before he was truly gone.

Posted by: wolfy420 | April 13, 2018 3:53 AM    Report this comment

My mini dachshund had a reaction to her rabies vaccine at 8 months. Her 3 year booster 1 year later sent her into anaphylactic shock. She had facial swelling and for 3 months afterward had issues. The booster even made the black of her nose peel and both shots made her ears split. After ALOT of vet visits I went to a dermatologist. She said it was very common and never to inoculate her ever again. She said the next shot could kill her. I was perplexed. It was the law so I reached out to the state (PA) and was told that legally she had to have the shot but I could do a titer test and if something should happen at least I was trying to be responsible. I had the titer test done EVERY year. My girl passed at 17.5 years. She was still being protected. I will never do more than 1 shot on any dog. I will titer. Especially after reading STOP THE SHOTS by John Clifton. I had done so much research on the subject just to make sure that I was doing the right thing. Any animal that has any disease,allergies or condition should never be over inoculated. Most vets will tell you itís legal no matter what the law as long as you have a written letter from them stating they canít have the vaccine. Please look into titer, it will save your pet.

Posted by: Cpn2jxp | April 13, 2018 12:55 AM    Report this comment

Since my girl is 9 years old and has been vaccinated since she was a baby and every three years since, I think she is immune. My veterinarian downplays the risk and also the titer testing.

Posted by: Casey's Mum | April 13, 2018 12:15 AM    Report this comment

One of our German Wirehaired Pointers, who was extremely healthy his entire life and had no illnesses, had a rabies shot at the age of 10 and within a few weeks developed seizures which progressed within a week to grand mal seizures that could not be controlled. We ended up having to put him to sleep. I have always felt it was due to the rabies vaccine. Has anyone else experienced this?

Posted by: Kosmom | April 12, 2018 10:06 PM    Report this comment

According to RabiesAware.org, no state accepts a positive rabies vaccine titer test as a replacement for current vaccination. From the site:

"NO. This answer the same throughout the US. A rabies antibody titer does NOT represent a legal index of immunity and cannot be used to replace vaccination requirements.

"A rabies titer (FAVN, performed at Kansas State University, Rabies Laboratory) is only applicable when exporting dogs/cats to rabies-free countries or regions of the world that require a titer."

That said, a rabies vaccine titer could be used to assure an *owner* that his or her dog responded appropriately to his previous rabies vaccinations by producing protective antibodies. This would perhaps lend the owner confidence that the dog was protected; just keep in mind that the authorities will not recognize these results and will consider a dog who hasn't had a vaccination in the past three years as "unvaccinated." Ė WDJ Editor

Posted by: WDJ Editor Nancy Kerns | April 12, 2018 9:47 PM    Report this comment

I live in the state of Colorado.
I am frightened to death about having my dogs over vaccinated, period!
So the titer is the way to go! Itís a test that proves the rabies vaccine is still in the dogs system. If for some reason you needed proof of rabies, itís easily accessible to hand over the titer results.
Good Luck.

Posted by: Ollie boy | April 12, 2018 8:34 PM    Report this comment

I am behind on getting an annual titer test done....but will stick to my guns about it...no other test is more conclusive than that, and that should be adequate in spite of these antiquated laws. I also will get a tag made with the titer testing place/date and report number she can wear.

Posted by: robin r | April 12, 2018 8:15 PM    Report this comment

Is it possible to measure titers to show a dog is still protected from rabies infection ?

Posted by: ChrisR | April 12, 2018 7:17 PM    Report this comment

I have an 11-year-old dog with visible cancer tumours I would prefer to no longer vaccinate as he's had every vaccination since I adopted him 10 years ago. In Omaha, NE, the Nebraska Humane Society *requires* (by law) that all veterinarians report every animal on their books so that NHS can check rabies vaccinations and licensure. Their own records, however, aren't so great as every year I am asked to provide vet records and license long-deceased (10 years was a record) dogs and cats. They are assiduous about regularly sending out legal threat letters if people don't comply. My heart breaks every time they "demand" I prove a long-dead dog or cat is gone. I finally decided to ignore the threats and someday I'll end up in court - with a stack of tiny caskets in a shopping cart in case they want to impound my animals.

Posted by: Hannahbelle | April 12, 2018 6:06 PM    Report this comment

Over 11yrs ago I found out about our pets are being over vaccinated. I have chosen not to register my dogs with the city. I get my dogs all their first shots and only the first three rabies shots. Veterinarians knew a long time ago that our dogs do not need all the vaccines they have been pumping. I try not over medicate myself or my pets.

Posted by: LILABBYSAM@YAHOO.COM | April 12, 2018 5:41 PM    Report this comment

On January 1, 2012 California State Law began allowing rabies vaccination exemptions if approved by the Local Health Officer (LHO). ... The law states that an exemption may be granted for the rabies vaccine, if ďa rabies vaccination would endanger the dog's life.ĒJan 1, 2012
Canine Rabies Vaccination Exemptions - Los Angeles County ...

Posted by: KATHY HALL | April 12, 2018 5:02 PM    Report this comment

I have had 3 dogs in the past and have 1 now. With my first 2 they got all the puppy shots and only their rabies after that. One of the 2 lived to be 17 years old and the other one lived to be 14 years old. The rabies shot did not bring on any illness or anything else. I believe that maybe the shot was not as strong as it is now(neither of the 2 ever had rabies). My third dog died from cancer at 7 years old. She was originally from Mexico and maybe that had something to do with it. My current dog has had the 4 month rabies and the 1 year rabies and the first 3 yr rabies and is scheduled for the next 3 yr shot in a few months. I am not certain that I will have it given.

Posted by: pepperoni | April 12, 2018 4:46 PM    Report this comment

I haven't gotten a dog license in many years. My vet says it's just a money maker for the town, anyhow. My dog is 15 and she is due for her rabies in Sept. So I don't have to worry about the connection between the license and rabies, I still want to make sure her rabies vaccine is still working. I plan on asking the vet to do a titer when she goes for her checkup in Sept.

Posted by: igliver66 | April 12, 2018 4:37 PM    Report this comment

While the hounds and I don't venture out much anymore, the titer for rabies has always been accepted here by trainers for group classes, for boarding and racing. We live in eastern Washington and are fortunate to have 2 of the best vets I've ever known. Father is holistic and his son is traditional. Wonderful and compassionate care!!

Posted by: Narrowdog | April 12, 2018 4:07 PM    Report this comment

I live near the Canada US border and attend many dog shows in the US. Itís a requirement for me to have a rabies vaccine for my dog. My eldest dog is nine years old and her next rabies vaccine is not due for another couple of years so Iím hoping something will come of it by then. Letís hope they come to a resolution soon about the need for vaccines. I prefer her not to give her this vaccine and have stopped other vaccines but this is the one that they do check for.

Posted by: Keepurrs | April 12, 2018 3:51 PM    Report this comment

I live in Liberal Kansas and the city requires dog owners to give rabies shots EVERY year. When the vet vaccinated your dog they give you a tag that can be worn on the dogs collar. Without proof of a yearly rabies shot you cannot board your dog and you cannot groom your dog. I highly disagree with this. But the almighty $$ wins.

Posted by: LoveDogs67901 | April 12, 2018 3:22 PM    Report this comment

I live in one of the three states where the city, county or municipality decides on this issue. I was able to get the following passed in my city (Rockville, MN) back in 2009. With the high incidence of cancer in my breed (Flat-Coated Retrievers), I wanted the option of being able to waive the rabies vaccination if possible under certain circumstances with veterinary approval. I've never had to use this yet and I still vaccinate every three years, but it is definitely nice to know our ordinance allows for this if necessary. We also don't have to license our dogs.

"Section 91.11: Rabies vaccination required, penalties for violation. It shall be unlawful for any person to own, possess, or harbor a dog within the city, if the dog has not had a vaccination for rabies within the time required under standard veterinary practices. A written waiver from a veterinarian accompanied by a rabies titer may be accepted as proof of vaccination when circumstances are indicated. Proof of rabies vaccination must be readily available upon request and up to date."

I did have a Flat-Coat with autoimmune hypothyroiditis that I vaccinated at around age 10.5 (rabies) who was in seemingly good health at that time. A few weeks after, he ended up with megaesophagus. Whether or not the rabies vaccination had anything to do with it, we will never be able to prove scientifically, but when I asked Dr. Jean Dodds about it, she said it could be possible. Again, there no way to prove cause/effect.

Posted by: Sara G | April 12, 2018 3:14 PM    Report this comment

I'm OK with getting the first puppy rabies shot, only because rabies is deadly to dogs and humans, but that's it. It's the same dose as the adult shot a year later, and it lasts for the lifetime of the dog. Titers prove that but unfortunately, my state doesn't allow them. I love the person who said her vet touches the syringe to the skin then dumps it in the trash. What a fabulous vet! I think claiming the dog is deceased is too risky, and besides, maybe bad karma would make it come true, who knows? I have a friend who refuses to do excessive vaccinations. She has Photoshop skills....that's all I'm saying. I seriously doubt that Animal Control has the time and resources to check each certificate for authenticity.

Posted by: GiftofGalway | April 12, 2018 3:02 PM    Report this comment

I hate getting any shots for my tiny 5 pound Papillon. He gets very sick for at least 2 days after a vacc and he's only 3 years old. Plus, I never give the parvo combo and rabies the same time. At least a couple weeks apart. When he had his last rabies he was just so sick. I am angry that we can't get the government to recognize how long these shots are good. At least recognize a titre for rabies.

Posted by: pap luv | April 12, 2018 2:50 PM    Report this comment

My 7 year old Golden was diagnosed at 5 months of age with SSRMA - sterile steroid responsive meningitis arteritis- an auto immune disease caused by her 4 month rabies vaccine. The bill to save her life was almost $7,000. We thought other types of vaccines were safe, and in the next couple of years, she had three more occurrences of SSRMA. Her last bout came on after we sadly said goodbye to her 15 year old Golden canine companion. We believe that the SSRMA, originally brought on by her rabies vaccine, now re-appears when she is under any kind of stress - be it vaccine or emotional. She will never again have any vaccine whatsoever, but we do have a note from her vet to that effect so we are legal.

For the past three years, she's been routinely treated by our amazing holistic veterinarian in hopes of keeping her healthy. Every two months she has acupuncture and takes Chinese herbal meds daily in an effort to prevent any re-occurrences. So far, so good!

I'm surprised at all of the comments posted that claim their county or state allows titers. I didn't think any state allowed titers in place of the vaccine.

Posted by: Bella and Breeze's Mom | April 12, 2018 2:17 PM    Report this comment

I live in Hawaii, a state where there are no rabies. We do not have required rabies vaccines, but if you want to take your dog, or any animal, out of the state to say show it or breed it and then bring it back, you then are required to have the series and titers and itís only good for 3 years. If youíre bringing in an animal to Hawaii from any place (other than Australia, New Zealand, Guam or Great Britan) the animal has to have rabies series, titer and a 120 day quarantine. The quarantine law used be that the animal was required 120 days in Hawaii, in a cage at the quarantine facility at a cost of approx $5K just for the 120 quarantine. As of 2002, the 120 day quarantine can be done at home before bringing animal into Hawaii. There is a law that is passing through legislation currently in Hawaii that would shorten quarantine to 30 days which is huge!!! Because of the tight quarantine laws we suffer from not having a good pool of breeding dogs and other animals. Also, there is not a big variety of breeds either.
A side note, in 1964 at the age of 6, I was visiting in Tennessee with my family when I was bit by a rabid cat- I had to stay back with a family friend, while my family returned to Hawaii to receive a series of rabies shots- NOT FUN. While this was 54 years ago I remember it like it was yesterday and still fear getting shots. The shots were given once a day for 14 days (not sure what protocol is today) in my stomach.
Needless to say, Iím a proponent of the rabies vaccine but there has to be newer science that allows for less vaccinating.

Posted by: KM | April 12, 2018 2:02 PM    Report this comment

Timely article as next month is the due date for the next rabies vaccine for us. Three years ago my vet & I discussed how to handle it for my four dogs (at the time all were healthy & 8 & 9 years old) when due again.

Fast foward 3 years & only 1 dog is still alive. Unfortunately she is on valium for seizures - she had a bad reaction to a flea & tick product. My vet plans to ask for an exemption. I will not vaccinate her again - she's twelve...

I believe in vaccines, I believe in flea & tick & heartworm meds & I feed raw. I also believe these are individual choices & no one should judge anyone's decisions regarding their pet's health.

& no one should ever assume that the length of a pet's life is solely based on owner choices. Some dogs live a long time, some do not. Whatever time we have is a blessing...

Posted by: Scamp's mom | April 12, 2018 1:50 PM    Report this comment

This is my experience: I live in a large city; my dogs are never off-leash except briefly in the dog park. In 2000, I found a young pregnant stray pit-mix who nursed her 7 pups. I kept one girl who never had a vaccination in her life. When she was 5, I had her titer-checked, and she proved to have had full immunity to all the common diseases tested. From age 2, her only health issue was hypothyroidism for which she took a thyroid supplement. She passed at age 14 from thyroid cancer, still looking like a young dog with no sign of arthritis or gray. The mother probably had shots before she was abandoned in a parking lot, but I never gave her any shots. She passed at age 15 from kidney failure, still looking young with no arthritis or gray. Another pit-mix stray I found lived to age 17 with no shots, dying of old age. I keep the gov't out of my business by not licensing in the first place--no paper trail.

In 2013, I adopted a pitbull from a city kill-shelter: I'm sure he was shot up in short order with everything they had; his health was never right from day one, and he died of kidney failure after 15 months--he wasn't even 3 years-old. My current pit was rescued from a NM kill-shelter when he was 6, so he had to be vaccinated before he could be transported. He's now almost 9 and never goes off-leash, and I will not allow him to be shot up again. I've signed a waiver at my vet's regarding not vaccinating any of my dogs.

Posted by: Czerny | April 12, 2018 1:47 PM    Report this comment

My vet agrees with less vaccinations are more. As for rabies shots, he barely touches the needle to the skin, and then throws the full syringe in the trash. Vaccination done. Dog gets rabies vaccination certificate. We get the license. We do titers for distemper and parvo. Love my vet!

Posted by: Berners4me | April 12, 2018 1:38 PM    Report this comment

According to the RabiesAware site, in Virginia a rabies antibody titer can't be used to establish immunity--"Rabies antibody titers are indicative of an animalís response to vaccine or infection. Titers do not directly correlate with protection because other immunologic factors also play a role in preventing rabies, and our abilities to measure and interpret those other factors are not well developed. Therefore, evidence of circulating rabies virus antibodies should not be used as a substitute for current vaccination in managing rabies exposures or determining the need for booster vaccinations in animals." This runs counter to other things I've read about this.

Posted by: csokol17 | April 12, 2018 1:37 PM    Report this comment

In your paragraph about state requirements you totally missed Hawaii!! No rabies shots here! if you are bringing your dog from the mainland you need to prove that they have had 2 or 3 rabies vaccines and blood work sent to Kansas City 120 days before you move here is negative for the rabies titer. There is no more quarantine if you do the steps ahead of time. Your dog is free to come and go as you please. Best of all no more rabies shots and lots of dog friendly beaches!

Posted by: zurismom | April 12, 2018 1:28 PM    Report this comment

In your paragraph about state requirements you totally missed Hawaii!! No rabies shots here! if you are bringing your dog from the mainland you need to prove that they have had 2 or 3 rabies vaccines and blood work sent to Kansas City 120 days before you move here is negative for the rabies titer. There is no more quarantine if you do the steps ahead of time. Your dog is free to come and go as you please. Best of all no more rabies shots and lots of dog friendly beaches!

Posted by: zurismom | April 12, 2018 1:27 PM    Report this comment

In your paragraph about state requirements you totally missed Hawaii!! No rabies shots here! if you are bringing your dog from the mainland you need to prove that they have had 2 or 3 rabies vaccines and blood work sent to Kansas City 120 days before you move here is negative for the rabies titer. There is no more quarantine if you do the steps ahead of time. Your dog is free to come and go as you please. Best of all no more rabies shots and lots of dog friendly beaches!

Posted by: zurismom | April 12, 2018 1:27 PM    Report this comment

For those asking about rabies titers, yes, they can be done. The problem is they aren't a substitute for the vaccine according to the law. While a positive titer should be proof positive your dog is protected against rabies, it doesn't protect you legally (perhaps there are states where it does, but I'm not sure). The law needs to be changed. I've got a 10.5-year-old Golden and an almost 7-year-old rescue who's under 6 pounds, and there's no way I'm agreeing to any more vaccines.

Posted by: JanC1955 | April 12, 2018 1:25 PM    Report this comment

Just wanted to add that in CA they will not accept a titer test in lieu of the shot itself.

Posted by: Hannie | April 12, 2018 1:20 PM    Report this comment

Thank you for this post. I didn't know about the potential harm of rabies vaccines to senior dogs. If the other commenters are right that a titer can be done to prove the dog is covered, this may be a way to advocate to get the law changed. If the titer shows the dog is covered, the owner should be allowed to opt out.

Posted by: Stephenie D | April 12, 2018 1:17 PM    Report this comment

I too live in CA.....my dog is 13 yo & has medical issues. My vet said they will no longer exempt a dog because he's older or has medical issues. I'm not sure it will endanger her life but I'm not willing to take a chance. So I had to lie to get out of registering her & forcing another rabies shot onto my baby girl. This infuriates me. I haven't allowed her to have any shots for several yrs now because I do believe they are pumping way too much toxins into our beloved animals. Most of my friends don't bother to register their dogs so they don't have to deal w/this.

Posted by: Hannie | April 12, 2018 1:14 PM    Report this comment

Actually I have been told the directional insert for the rabies vaccine states it should only be given to healthy dogs. If your dog has a chronic problem then he/she should be given a waiver. Revaccinating a dog that doesn't need it damages the immune system and causes cancers.

Posted by: zasha | April 12, 2018 1:13 PM    Report this comment

What about a titer?

Posted by: Rhonda Glaser | April 12, 2018 12:55 PM    Report this comment

To get the rabies laws changed go to PROTECTTHEPETS.COM Dr. John Robb of CT is fighting these outdated laws. There are chapters in many states and internationally. A bill has been submitted to the CT legislature to change the laws 1) to dose by weight when needed and 2) accept titers when vaccine is not needed. Dr. Robb provides info for getting a titer through Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostiac Laboratory. All he charges is a $50 donation to PROTECTTHEPETS.COM. You just need to get blood drawn by your vet and send the sample with the forms you get on line to Dr. Robb. I have submitted a sample for my 10yo cocker; she had received a puppy shot, one 1-yr shot and two 3-yr shots. No need for any more! We must change these outdated laws and save our pets.

Posted by: Sueseashells | April 12, 2018 12:46 PM    Report this comment

I titer my two Shih Tzu. One is 11 years old and she received her core rabies vaccine then an additional booster as a pup and has not had one since. I titer both dogs every year to check their antibody level for their required shots and rabies. My 11 year oldís titers STILL indicate A HIGH level of rabies antibodies and therefore no need to revaccinate. This only proves we are over vaccinating because of protocol administered by pharmaceutical companies. Do we have to be revaccinated against polio or mumps every 3 years? Why should our dogs be subjected to this, especially senior dogs My dogís titer results are sent to the Doddís Rabies Research Study. Iím a firm believer we are giving our dogs too many shots and compromising their health. My dogs are therapy dogs and have been visiting the local childrenís hospital in Cleveland. I have their titer paperwork to indicate they are suitable for visitation. I have found veterinarians that support my way of thinking. We need to educate those vets that are shot happy and challenge them with the truth. Titers tell all and can save our dogs lives. Thank you for this article!

Posted by: mk | April 12, 2018 12:43 PM    Report this comment

Our vets do not force anyone to have their pets vaccinated!! I do not vaccinate against lepto, and only have vaccinated my present dog for bordatella and canine influenza because I show him in different states. If a client does not want a vaccine, they say so! No one should be "forced" to have vaccines given. That is not what most vets do!

Posted by: Jani | April 12, 2018 12:40 PM    Report this comment

I work for my vet here in Rhode Island and while I, too, dread over vaccinating for rabies, I have seen a couple of horror stories of dogs who were "overdue" for their Rabies vaccine, bit someone, and state law requires quarantine and, in two cases, the dog had to be euthanized and tested for rabies. Our vets were horrified at having to abide by this law and, despite numerous reminders, one of the owners still continues to be late in vaccinating despite having a farm where they operate a vegetable stand and petting zoo and their dogs are always loose. They continue to ignore our email and phone reminders. We DO have rabies in this area and even a cat was recently found to be rabid in another part of the state. Our state vet is very reluctant to allow rabies titers, but has occasionally approved of dogs and cats who cannot be vaccinated for anything. Too many people think that having an indoor cat means no vaccinations, but there are local cases of rabid bats in houses. It's also a requirement here that if a dog or cat is bitten by an unvaccinated pet or wild animal, a rabies booster is required. Our city and town animal control officers are required to follow up on these cases too. So, we're damned if we do and damned if we don't until the Rabies Challenge can educate backward ideas on this disease.

Posted by: Jani | April 12, 2018 12:37 PM    Report this comment

My ten and six year old golden retrievers are registered Therapy dogs but we can have titers done to prove immunity. I will not give them Rabies shots again! If I have to we will quit therapy. I don't see why vets and states can't accept titers.

Posted by: Debby G | April 12, 2018 12:35 PM    Report this comment

Why canít they just do titers to determine when a vaccination is needed! Iíve also been told that a 90 lb Rottie receives the same dose as a 6 lb Yorkie. How does that make sense?

Posted by: Jlfodor | April 12, 2018 12:25 PM    Report this comment

What good information! My 11 year old golden retriever tangled with a ground hog in our backyard! I was worried that the animal was wounded and hiding under our low level deck so I called animal control! HUGE mistake. Although my Midas had just had his rabies 3 year vaccine less than a year ago, they required that he be quarantined and re-vaccinated! What?? So even if vaccinated, they have to be re-vaccinated anyway? Two months later my perfectly healthy, holistically cared for Golden died of lymphoma! Coincidence? I highly doubt that!

Posted by: catrob7689 | April 12, 2018 12:23 PM    Report this comment

One of my senior dogs got a life-threatening bone marrow failure (severe anemia, etc) after his last rabies shot. He was treated with a series of homeopathic medicines that stimulated his bone marrow to work and eventually cured his autoimmune condition. He lived another 4 plus years. One of my current dogs got lame right after the last rabies vaccination. It lasted for a couple of week before I realized that I need to find help. Again I had to find a veterinary homeopath to determine a remedy (Lyssin was not quite the right one; he got an individualized remedy of Phosphorus), and he started walking again fine right after starting the remedy. He runs around fine now, but he too is older (11 years). I have decided to just ask for titers on my dogs when the license would require another rabies shot, regardless of age. If the titers are low, I will allow the rabies shot. But if they are OK, I just wait and let them go unlicensed. I hate doing that, but I can't stand the suffering that they set off in my dogs.

Posted by: CaseysMom | April 12, 2018 12:12 PM    Report this comment

In my Oregon county they accept titers for Rabies.
But... If your dog bites someone without the vaccination, despite good titers, he will be considered as not vaccinated and needs to be quarantined for 10 days. I am willing to do that.

Posted by: Wolfy | April 12, 2018 12:05 PM    Report this comment

I live in NJ and for the last 3-4 years of my dog's life he was titer tested and did not have to get another rabies shot. His test showed there was enough residual vaccine . He was 16 when he died and had some health issues. Check with your vets!

Posted by: janrose | April 12, 2018 11:58 AM    Report this comment

Lying to the government authority to avoid a public health law is never a ďgood ideaĒ and penalties will be much worse than just the penalty for having an unlicensed dog. And may include jail time. Thatís what you would be doing if you reported your dog is deceased in order to knowingly avoid the vaccine requirement.

If you disagree with the law, work to change it. Thatís how democracies function.

Posted by: Robin J. | April 12, 2018 11:52 AM    Report this comment

Totally fits my experience. When I lived in CA, I presented my old dog schnauzer cross beloved family pet for her rabies vaccine (she was 12 or 13). She quickly developed a blood dyscrasia, her immune system turned on her, and died painfully. It was tragic and seemed so unnecessary since she was not going out and about nearly as much, and certainly was not exposed to rabid wildlife. The effort to change this requirement will receive a donation in Missy's memory. My vet said that he had never seen this in thousands of vaccinations, our luck, our loss.

Posted by: MaryK | April 12, 2018 11:52 AM    Report this comment

My Rottweiler is 8 years old, and extremely sensitive to medications. The Advantix II flea drops make him listless, lethargic along with killing his appetite. Since he's arthritic and very slow moving as a result, he isn't very mobile and stays primarily in the house....so I won't be giving him any vaccinations.
My other dogs are due for all of their vaccinations, and because we go hiking, I will get them. Especially since my GSD is only 3 years old; and my little girl has socialization problems and has a tendency to snap.
I'd rather skip them altogether, but since my younger two are out and about so much, I guess better safe than sorry can be taken many ways. I'd hate for them to pick up something while we're at the beach, hiking trails, out and about and bring it home to my older baby.

Posted by: mik1of3 | April 12, 2018 11:49 AM    Report this comment

If this is your main concern ...
"If he gets picked up as a stray or bites someone before all this is resolved, the fines will be much higher than they would be if he were currently licensed. Not that either of those things are going to happen, but stillÖ"
... why not just skip the dog license. Paying much higher fines for something that is very unlikely to happen far outweighs the dreaded over-vaccination.

Posted by: DiannaDog | April 12, 2018 11:48 AM    Report this comment

A titer can be done for rabies. There is only one place in the country that does the testing. I believe it's in Kansas.

Posted by: Pam B. | April 12, 2018 11:32 AM    Report this comment

Our dog Max has waged battle with immune-mediated anemia, and then immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, and both vets treating him said he should never be vaccinated again. Max's license recently came up for renewal (we live in Arizona) and his rabies was due. Our specialist wrote out a letter to the Maricopa County Animal Care and Control explaining why Max could not be vaccinated and should be exempted (there is no such accommodation here in Arizona, but he requested it anyway). They sent a very polite letter back that expressed their sympathy for Max's condition, and stated he would not be licensed then. Which is fine with me - I'd rather have him alive!

Posted by: azdogmama | April 12, 2018 11:09 AM    Report this comment

I can totally relate to this dilemma. I have a rescue Springer who developed hypothyroidism as a result of being over-vaccinated. I worked with a holistic vet, who informed me that it is against the law to vaccinate an immune-compromised animal. As such, my dog qualifies for an exemption in Michigan. We had to do a rabies titer (only one place in the country does the rabies titer testing -- I believe it's in Kansas?) to prove that she has enough of the rabies antibody to warrant an exemption from the booster, (which she does.) I was able to renew my license from the city with that official waiver, along with a letter from the vet stating why my dog could not be vaccinated. Again -- I think it's against the law to vaccinate an immune challenged animal (or person, for that matter) and would guess you might be able to do the same thing I did. Best of luck. Hope you can find a vet to help you with this. They're out there. :-)

Posted by: Pam B. | April 12, 2018 10:30 AM    Report this comment

Can a titer test be done or is that just for other vaccines?

Posted by: CoryAz | April 12, 2018 10:24 AM    Report this comment

Always suspected that all the shots we are told Ďnecessaryí were not. But what are we to do? Our Vets force them upon us, for the most part. And with Rabies, the law does.
Great idea saying your dog has passed, so you can avoid them so often. Wish I knew sooner.
My Sr dogs health was not the best for her last shot. But she was a trooper. We took a nice walk after, together. Here appetite was fine, too.
She developed rapid symptoms of bleeding & diarrhea, along with some vomiting, about a month later & had to be put down. Thankfully, she did not suffer long. Less than 24 hrs from start to finish.

We always try to do the best for our pets. The multimillion $ industry knows this. Many of us put their needs ahead of our own.
Don't know if that last shot she had put her over the edge. Never will.

Posted by: DewLuv | April 12, 2018 10:23 AM    Report this comment

My vet gives the Imrab-1TF to my puppies and Imrab-3TF for the 3 year, plus I give Lyssin as a precaution. The TF stands for thimerisol free.

Posted by: Donna C | April 12, 2018 10:12 AM    Report this comment

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