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Rabies vaccine being given earlier?


juliepoudrier
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On the subject of vaccines, I took the pup to the vet today where I was pushed to consider lepto (go figure, and of course it needs to be done yearly). But more interesting than that was the comment that I should bring the pup back at 12 weeks for another DA2P *and* rabies! First of all, I usually do the rabies vaccine separately from any other vaccine. But the 12 weeks thing was a surprise. According to the vet, the manufacturer (I didn't ask which manufacturer this was) says the vaccine can be used at that young an age and vets here are pushing it because rabies is on the rise on NC. I think I'll just keep the pup home and away from areas where she could run into something rabid and go with my regular protocol....

 

Anyway, has anyone else heard of rabies vaccines being given any earlier because of increased threat of rabies in certain locales?

 

J.

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Haven't heard anything about that. Just because it "can" be given at 3 months doesn't mean it has to be given that young. I agree keep the pup away from areas where it would be exposed to rabid animals. I also give rabies seperate ( by at least 2 wks ) from the basic vaccine. And I usually wait til they are about 5 to 6 months old before they get their rabies vaccine. Me? I'd tell them I considered it (the lepto vaccine ) and my answer was no. I'd also be a bit concerned about them "pushing" the lepto vaccine since they already know your protocol. If dogs are going to react to a vaccine it is usually lepto that causes most of the reactions. I'd just keep my vet aware that my dogs are not being vaccinated for Lepto and keep vaccines to a minimum.

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Oh yeah, this is a vet I've used for a long time and I trust him, so I was a bit surprised at the pushing of the lepto vaccine, since he knows (or should know) that I use a reduced protocol and don't vaccinate for things I think are unnecessary. I also prefer just the plain old DAP for pups, but of course they had only DA2P, so that's what we got. I, too, usually separate the rabies from all other vaccines at give at around 20 weeks. I know rabies cases are on the rise in NC, but wonder if that really merits earlier vaccination (there was a story in the news recently of a woman who adopted a rabid kitten in Wake County. Her entire family and pets were all exposed; the pets are being quarantined to the tune of $8k for six months, and I imagine the early vaccine thing may be a knee jerk reaction to some of these kinds of stories).

 

I like to support my vet, but I think I will be doing the next vaccines myself and just show up for a rabies vaccine when I'm ready....

 

J.

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Question, did you pup come from NC or out of state?

 

Dogs, cats and ferrets entering the state must be currently vaccinated against rabies by four months of age or older. If a domestic dog, cat or ferret four months of age or older enters North Carolina and is not currently vaccinated against rabies, the animal must be vaccinated against rabies within one week of entry and remain confined for two weeks after vaccination. If a dog, cat or ferret is less than three months old upon entry into the state, the animal may be imported but can be vaccinated when it is three months of age with an approved USDA licensed vaccine according to the manufacturer’s package insert. All animals vaccinated with USDA licensed rabies vaccines, administered by a licensed veterinarian, and accompanied by a current rabies certificate verifying this, are recognized.

 

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1. The pup is from in state.

 

2. Yes, NC requires rabies vaccines for all dogs, usually given at 4 months, though some folks wait a bit later than that so as not to have to give rabies at the same time as the last distemper combo.

 

3. SSCressa, If they are vaccinated and then exposed, I believe they get an immediate booster and are quarantined at least 10 days. I'd have to go look up the story about the kitten to see why those dog required a 6-month quarantine, but it could be due to the consistent level of exposure (i.e., living in the same house with a rabid kitten for X amount of time).

 

J.

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To be clear, I am not opposed to vaccinating the pup for rabies. I follow the law on rabies vaccines. This just happens to be the first I've heard of vaccinating a pup *before* 16 weeks. Note that the law Debbie quoted doesn't mandate vaccination at 12 weeks, but simply states that imported animals can be vaccinated that early. I'm not quite sure what the distinction is (for perhaps vaccinating imported animals at a younger age), given that rabies is on the rise in this state....

 

ETA: Here's a link to the story about the kitten. It seems that the woman's dogs were UTD on their rabies vaccines, but the other indoor cats were not. Had she gotten boosters (for the dogs at least) within 5 days of their exposure to the kitten, they wouldn't have to undergo the 6-month quarantine, but the problem was that none of three vets diagnosed the sick kitten as having rabies and by the time it died and a necropsy was performed, the 5-day window of opportunity had passed. The story never said what happens to her two indoor cats whose rabies vaccines had lapsed. My understanding is that here in NC, an out of date rabies vaccine is considered the same as being unvaccinated and I believe that seriously limits the options for the cats.

 

J.

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Not pointing any fingers at you Julie, the vets are going to adjust their protocal based on state and local laws. If the state mandates 4 month rabies then the vet is going to suggest that the owner have the rabies done prior to that time which would be at the time of the 12 week puppy shot seeing them many owners do not return for any more vet visits after that time until the next annual exam.

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Actually, though, I believe that most vets will tell owners that the *last* puppy shot should be given when the pup is 16 weeks old, so they should be pushing for the owners to come in for that 16-week shot anyway. In the past, I've tried to minimize the number of vaccines a pup gets and so I've adjusted the schedule to insure that the last vaccine is at 16 weeks, per that recommendation.

 

Honestly though, she will probably get her 12- and 16-week vaccines right at home, and then go in sometime after that for her rabies vaccine. I don't like taking an unvaccinated (or partially vaccinated) pup to a vet office anyway, but did want to have a fecal done and get her a simple wellness check.

 

J.

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Well, I believe rabies cases are on the rise in many states (here in VA too), but I have not heard about vaccinating at a younger age - but then again, I do not have a puppy and brought my dogs in for their yearly back in March so I am out of the loop. It does sound like a knee jerk reaction that probably originated from a communication from the state vet, and I have seen some instances where these decisions were more politically motivated (i.e. protect the public at all cost)than scientifically logical. I wouldn't be surprised if someone suggested giving the 3 year rabies vaccine every 2 years instead to "make sure a protective level of antibodies are maintained".

 

Jovi

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Well, what vets suggest to people and what people do are two different things. Seems like many feel that a initial vaccination followed by a booster will be enough until their next annual exam. From what I've been reading, it may be and it may not be, especially when dealing with Parvo, recently I've been seeing where it is suggested to give a Parvo vaccination at 20 weeks. Something to do with the bitches antibodies being with some pups longer then others rendering the early vaccinations useless. It really wasn't a big worry for us until we started keeping our pups back until they start working, when you have 8-10 really nice pups coming along the last thing you want to see is Parvo in your kennel and they are saying that it will happen...bleach bleach, anyone have bleach on sale??

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Debbie,

Much depends on when the initial vaccine is given. Before 8 weeks I think it's safe to err on the side of that early vaccine having been ineefective thanks to the mother's antibodies. I really don't believe that giving, say, four puppy shots will produce any greater resistance than giving two at the appropriate intervals, but you can't always control what a breeder does before you get your hands on a pup.

 

As for people ignoring vets' suggestions, that is a poor reason to suggest to folks who generally comply or all well informed that they should follow some different protocol.

 

J.

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In one study of a cross section of different puppies the age at which they were able to respond to a vaccine and develop protection covered a wide period of time. At six weeks of age, 25% of the puppies could be immunized. At 9 weeks of age, 40% of the puppies were able to respond to the vaccine. The number increased to 60% by 16 weeks, and by 18 weeks of age, 95% of the puppies could be immunized.

 

 

Vaccination protocols have been developed that will help protect the widest range of dogs. In using these protocols, we understand we will be vaccinating some dogs that are not capable of responding and we will be revaccinating some dogs that have already responded and developed a high titer. But without doing an individual test on each puppy, it is impossible to determine where the puppy is in its immune status. We also realize due to the window of susceptibility, some litters will contract parvovirus despite being vaccinated. By using quality vaccines and an aggressive vaccination protocol, we can make this window of susceptibility as small as possible. The generally recommended protocol is to vaccinate puppies against parvovirus beginning at 6-8 weeks of age, and revaccinating every 3 weeks until the puppy is 16-20 weeks of age. A booster is given at one year of age and every 1-3 years thereafter.

 

 

The entire article is here:

 

 

http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2102&aid=467

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Yes Debbie and here's another protocol ;

 

http://www.itsfortheanimals.com/DODDS-CHG-VACC-PROTOCOLS.HTM

 

The article you posted even says "some litters will contract parvovirus despite being vaccinated" iow nothing is a given w/o titers. Me, I'd rather opt for less at appropriate times than more that are unnecessary.

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Exactly, there is no one perfect protocol - you have go with what you believe and or trust, as for Rabies prior to 4 mo., that would be a huge red flag for me.

 

ETA - you left off the last sentence - "It's a matter of professional judgment and choice." This protocol is also dated 2011.

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ETA: Here's a link to the story about the kitten. It seems that the woman's dogs were UTD on their rabies vaccines, but the other indoor cats were not. Had she gotten boosters (for the dogs at least) within 5 days of their exposure to the kitten, they wouldn't have to undergo the 6-month quarantine, but the problem was that none of three vets diagnosed the sick kitten as having rabies and by the time it died and a necropsy was performed, the 5-day window of opportunity had passed. The story never said what happens to her two indoor cats whose rabies vaccines had lapsed. My understanding is that here in NC, an out of date rabies vaccine is considered the same as being unvaccinated and I believe that seriously limits the options for the cats.

 

J.

 

Wow. When Kipp tangled with a sick coon last year I took him in for a rabies booster and that was it. And even with that my vet told me that it was purely a state regulation as there is no chance of a properly vaccinated animal getting the disease (Kipp had had a 3 yr booster 6 months prior).

 

 

From everything I researched/read around that time, evidence points to the idea that dogs that have received an initial vaccine and booster are fully protected for 7+ years.

 

FWIW, I know of a gal on another board whose unvaccinated 4 m/o pup had a possible exposure to rabies - I think they found a dead bat that tested positive in their yard and the dog had been out there unsupervised. They had to board her for a 6 month quarantine at veterinary clinic.

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Thank you Karen for making the points I would have made if I hadn't been moving sheep through the woods from the day pasture to the night pasture.

 

Debbie,

The point is that you can do what you think is right and explain any way you want. I happen to think that we overvaccinate, and the information you quoted even admits that, but states that doing so is the "safest" way to go. I disagree. I would rather minimize the exposure of my pups to other dogs and places where other dogs have gone, vaccinate the minimum accepted number of times to convince *myself* that a pup is likely protected, based on reading the most up-to-date literature and doing my own risk/benefit analysis.

 

My Twist puppies received two puppy vaccines (DAP), with the last one being after 16 weeks of age. They got their rabies at 20 weeks (IIRC) and received boosters for all vaccines a year later. They are five now and no one has contracted any horrible diseases, even though I follow a reduced vaccine protocol for my adult dogs as well, and have for years. It's all well and good to say vaccinate the hell out of them when they're young because it's the "safest thing to do," but when no one even mentions the *risks* associated overvaccination, I think that's doing intelligent pet owners a serious disservice.

 

As I stated in the other thread, people have to do their research and determine what they feel most comfortable with. I am comfortable with a reduced vaccine schedule. YMMV.

 

J.

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To your original question Julie,

 

Rabies vaccine has always been labeled as safe for animals 12 weeks(3 mos) or older. Most places law mandates rabies vax by the time the pup is 4mos old.

 

Most cases of rabies exposure to humans from pets are from young animals precisely because they have never had a rabies vax. If there have been a lot of cases in your area I'd bet your vet has decided to push up the schedule because of fear.

 

Like you I wait as long as I can...Gemma just got hers yesterday (@6.5m).

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Wow. When Kipp tangled with a sick coon last year I took him in for a rabies booster and that was it. And even with that my vet told me that it was purely a state regulation as there is no chance of a properly vaccinated animal getting the disease (Kipp had had a 3 yr booster 6 months prior).

 

 

Just to be accurate: There is always a chance (however small) that a vaccination may not provide protection in an individual (dog, human, cat, livestock, etc.). Even if a titer was known (and it was high enough to be protective), there may be other reasons for vaccination failure. WRT rabies, different serovars exist (i.e. bat rabies vs. raccoon rabies), and, as is commonly known, antigenic variation can often be a cause of vaccine failure - but I believe there is enough cross-reactivity between the two serovars for the rabies vaccine to protect against both. Another concern with rabies is that the closer to the brain the bite occurs, the less time there is for the protective antibodies to neutralize the infection.

 

I am not trying to scare anyone (and I doubt if anyone here is shaking in their boots :D ), but I do have a healthy respect for the rabies virus - having worked with it in the lab for 5-6 years. Having said that, I am quite comfortable with the current vaccination protocol and think that the vaccination interval could possibly be stretched out a little further. It is as many people here say, you have to weigh the risks and benefits and make the best decision for your own situation.

 

Jovi

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We recently had a case of a 9 week old pup that tangled with a wild animal (wounds found during the PE). The owner killed the wild animal and it was submitted for testing. Unfortunately, it came back positive for rabies. Now the pup is in strict confinement for the next six months, a potential socialization/training disaster. As a result, some worried people in the area have asked if it is possible to vaccinate their pups younger.

 

Laws vary from state to state, but around here a rabies vax could be given as young as 8 weeks as long as it is boostered after 12 weeks. I have yet to vaccinate a pup for rabies at less than 16 weeks, but I've seen one come out of a shelter vaccinated at 9 weeks old.

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