One way to get around having your dog vaccinated for Rabies as mandated by law is to ask your veterinarian to waive the vaccine. Veterinarians recognize that the vaccine poses danger to dogs with compromised immune systems, like those with cancer or autoimmune disorders. But what if your dog isn’t “sick”? Vaccines also pose dangers to healthy dogs. I should know. Mine is one of them.
While the debate about vaccination choice for children rages on, there is a growing body of evidence accumulated through scientific study that shows that the rabies vaccine poses serious health threats to dogs, including the possibility of rear end paralysis, (see June 6 post) behavioral issues, and even cancer.
No one’s arguing that the rabies vaccine can’t be helpful, but it’s the repeated schedule of vaccines every three years (and until recently required every year by some states) that overloads our pets’ systems. Often the same amount of vaccine is administered to a Mastiff (one of the largest breeds) as is given to a Chihuahua. The post on rear end paralysis that I borrowed from the Shaping Chaos blog (see above) tells the story of one dog whose owner requested a Rabies titre (a sampling of blood that shows the levels of disease fighting antibodies in the blood) who was found to have 2700 times the amount of antibodies needed to protect him from rabies.
I’d heard the horror stories about Rabies vaccinosis years ago, and feeling sorry for the people whose dogs suffered from its ill effects and wanting to warn others, I broadcasted the news far and wide on my now defunct dog blog. But what I didn’t know was how close to home the problem was. I counted myself lucky that my dogs were healthy and rarely suffered from much other than the very rare case of indigestion.
Through time though, my perception of health changed. I realized that while my dogs appeared to have good physical health, they continued to suffer from chronic behavioral problems. I had chalked these up to a lack of socialization and a previous home life that was not so great, but I had failed to see resolving them as a necessary part of health. It wasn’t as if I didn’t work hard to help my dogs feel secure and happy; over the years I’d employed many a trainer and consulted with a host of veterinarians and animal communicators along the way. But when friends suggested trying a homeopathic vet, I didn’t see the need – because my dogs were “healthy”.
Eventually, through my study of a variety of holistic methods including Reiki and flower essences, (that I came to with the sole purpose of helping my dogs) I understood that my dogs were not as healthy as I’d previously thought.
I consulted a homeopthic veterinarian in the hopes of getting to the bottom of the some of the issues that had plagued us for so long. Since Dasher’s issues were worse, I started treatment for her first. I completed a thorough intake form and based on my report, he prescribed a remedy. I kept the vet updated and periodically he changed the remedy. When we reached a critical point, he informed me that there was good news. My dog would not get worse. She had a syndrome. Rabies vaccinosis.
I was shocked not only to hear that this was what I’d been unknowingly battling for most of my dog’s life, but also that there were actually other dogs who suffered from the same bizarre symptoms ranging from shredding of bedding to a dislike of people in uniform. I also wondered how many dogs had been punished or given up for impossible behavior, when perhaps the culprit all along was a vaccine intended to protect them, or how many dogs with seemingly minor symptoms were continually vaccinated and fell victim to more severe and debilitating issues that might have been prevented.
Dr. Richard Pitcairn, DVM, PhD provides this more comprehensive list of rabies vaccinosis symptoms in an article written in 1993.
Restless nature; suspicious of others, unfriendly to other dogs, vicious to other animals, desire to kill.
Aggression and mistrust of strangers, esp. people in uniforms.
Change of behavior to aloofness; from affectionate to unaffectionate.
Clingy behavior, fear to be left alone.
Follows owner from room to room. Wants physical contact.
Tendency to escape confinement and to roam.
Attempt at restraint results in hysterical, violent behavior. Resistance can be so extreme as to cause self-injury.
Self-mutilation; tail-chewing, chewing off toes or a foot (seen in severe allergic or nervous diseases).
Changed voice; hoarseness. Excessive tendency to bark or be vocal.
Chronic poor appetite; very particular about food; finicky.
Paralysis (or partial paralysis) of mouth, tongue or throat; sloppy eaters or drinkers; tendency to drool or lose saliva.
Loss of sight, cataract formation, visual defects.
Keratitis sicca, “dry eye”.
Habit of eating wood, stones, sticks, earth.
Excessive desire to eat stool (their own or other animals).
Destructive behavior and shredding of blankets or bedding.
Seizures, epilepsy, chorea, twitches, etc.
Psychomotor seizure syndrome.
Increased sexual desire, even in neutered males; humping; sexual aggression.
Irregular pulse; heart failure.
“Reverse” sneezing attacks.
When my dogs’ rabies shots were due, I panicked. I asked my vet if I could get a waiver. But my dogs are not “sick”. They don’t have cancer. Vaccinosis is not a recognized syndrome in the traditional veterinary community or by the law. Further, my vet asked, what would happen if my dogs were to become involved in a biting incident, even one not of their own making? If they weren’t vaccinated, my dogs would be taken from me and put down.
The short answer to how to get around the Rabies vaccine is you can’t, unless your dog has a compromised immune system due to a medically recognized condition and you get a waiver from your vet.
The long answer is to contribute to the Rabies Challenge, a fund that supports research being conducted to determine the immunity provided by the Rabies vaccine and extend the mandatory booster schedule to five, and eventually seven years. The website also includes breaking news from around the United States including legislative initiatives.
If you haven’t contributed to the Rabies Challenge fund, please consider doing so now. The health of future generations of dogs is at stake.