The Well Dog Place

Dr. Ken Tudor Holistic Veterinarian

Rabies vaccine being given to pet. It protects humans from being bitten by dog or cat infected with rabies.

Dog Vaccine Primer 04 | Is Rabies Needed?

Rabies vaccine is not given to your dog to protect it. It is given to protect you! Rabies is an always-fatal disease. Throughout human history, only one person has survived and that was with a modern experimental procedure not yet approved for treatment. That is why Human Public Health agencies, not any veterinary organization, are in charge of rabies regulation nationwide.

Let me share an experience that occurred at my cat-only practice in Alta Loma in the 1990s. A client became furious with me because I required her cats to have rabies vaccines to be patients at my hospital. I explained that her cats were more likely to bite us than her, so I needed to protect myself and the staff from the deadly disease. She continued her tirade as she left with her cat carrier. Years later she returned to my hospital to apologize for her previous conduct. I assured her that no apology was necessary, we simply had different views. She insisted and then shared the incident that occurred to prompt her apology. She lived in an apartment in San Dimas. A bat flew into her home and bit both of her cats. You guessed it. The bat had rabies. California laws require a pet with no rabies vaccination bitten by a rabid animal to be destroyed immediately or vaccinated immediately and placed in 180-day quarantine. I don’t remember what the client decided to do. But what if she didn’t know her cats were bitten by the bat? What if they developed neurological symptoms and she took them to a veterinarian for treatment? What if the vet and staff were bit or got a scratch that became contaminated by saliva? That is why I require rabies vaccine for all of my patients because you just never know.

Sources of Rabies Infection

Wildlife is the major reservoir of rabies virus. In our area, the most common carriers are bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes, and coyotes. Opossums, rats, mice, and rabbits are resistant to rabies infection.  Recently, however, there have been several reports of humans that were bit by rabid kittens and puppies they were rescuing from homelessness.

What are the rabies regulations?

California public health requirements for rabies are that all dogs have 3 rabies vaccines within 5 years no matter what the dog’s age at the first vaccination. Further re-vaccination is required every 3 years. Blood titers indicating protection from rabies are not accepted by public health agencies in lieu of vaccines.

Are rabies vaccinations harmful to dogs?

Unfortunately, rabies vaccines have been unfairly demonized. Most vaccine reactions occur from vaccines for distemper, parvo, and hepatitis viruses, not rabies. Vaccine for the bacteria, Leptospirosis, is the worst offender for vaccine reactions. The mercury adjuvant (enhances immune stimulation) has been studied for causing injections site tumors and other reactions. There is no hard evidence proving these possibilities, but mercury-free vaccines are readily available for veterinarians at the same cost as vaccines containing mercury. We use only mercury-free for all of our injectable vaccines.

Make an appointment at 909.929.0778 for your dog’s blood titer or mercury-free vaccine now!

Ken Tudor DVM
Dr. Ken Tudor, Holistic Veterinarian

Dr. Ken Tudor is a recognized expert and leader in the field of pet nutrition and fitness. He has developed a pet weight management program and served on the American Animal Hospital Association task force to develop their Weight Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats. He is also a frequent guest on the Pet World Insider radio show and a popular guest on the televised Pet Ex Talks-Pet Experts Empowering Pet Parents show.

Dog Vaccine Primer 04 | Is Rabies Needed?

Dog Vaccine Primer

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(909) 929-0778