1. The only vaccine required by U.S. law is rabies. 15 states currently offer exemptions to animals with serious health problems and more are adding exemptions. Not all states require cats and ferrets to be vaccinated. Note: because laws change with little fanfare, not all veterinarians know the current regulations. Click here to see a list of U.S. state laws. Double check with your city and county Animal Control.
2. There is little or no research showing that annual revaccination for core vaccines boosts immunity. Studies do show that core vaccines shouldn’t be given any more frequently than every three years — not every three years.
3. Mature dogs and cats rarely die from vaccine-preventable infectious disease and thus may not need vaccinating.
Zsazsa, Angela Moran’s much-loved Chihuahua, developed an injection-site tumor after rabies vaccination.
Angela writing Monday, October 12, 2009
I had to have my Zsazsa put down this past week. The vet who helped me care for her said the only way to determine 100% her cancer was from the rabies vaccine was to do a biopsy. We agreed to have it done just for our piece of mind and to have her count if this vaccine caused her death. Dr. Amy went to the company who created the vaccine … and she feels the vaccine caused it and explained we have her brother who we are concerned about as well. [The manufacturer] has agreed to pay for the biospy and claim they have no reports of this vaccine causing this cancer in dogs. They are interested in the results. I applaud the Dr for contacting the company and getting them to agree to pay. She warned we couldn’t sue the company but it’s not about that, it’s about the dangers of the rabies vaccine and the numbers not being accurate.
Thanks to Lisa A. Pierson, DVM for allowing us to post her wonderfully informative article on cat vaccination from her website which also includes information on feline nutrition, health and rescue: http://www.catinfo.org This article contains:
Side effects including sarcomas (cancerous tumors), chronic kidney disease, allergic or anaphylactic reaction, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, soreness at the injection site, lameness
Decision-making criteria – including comments on titers
A vaccination is a preparation of microorganisms (pathogens), such as viruses or bacteria, that is administered to produce or increase immunity to a particular disease. There can be no disputing that vaccines save lives but they also have some serious side effects which will be discussed on this webpage.
Please note that the diseases we most commonly vaccinate cats for are caused by viruses – not bacteria. While it is difficult to induce long-term immunity to bacterial infections, vaccines targeted toward viruses are much more efficient at conferring long-term immunity in the recipient.
There are 5 viral diseases that cats are commonly vaccinated for:
For many veterinary practitioners canine vaccination programs have been “practice management tools” rather than medical procedures. Thus, it is not surprising that attempts to change the vaccines and vaccination programs based on scientific information have created great controversy and unique methods of resistance to the proposed changes have been and are being developed. For some practitioners the issues are not duration of immunity for the vaccines, nor which vaccines are needed for the pet, instead it is felt that every licensed vaccine should be given to every pet on an annual or more often basis. Ironically this is fostered by the fact that multivalent products with 7 or more vaccine components can be purchased for the same price or less than a product with one or two vaccine components. A “more is better” philosophy prevails with regard to pet vaccines. On many occasions practitioners say that “I know many of the vaccines I administer probably aren’t needed but it won’t hurt to give them and who knows the animal may need them some time during their life because of unknown risk.” I have also been told by many practitioners that “I believe the duration of immunity for some vaccines like distemper, parvovirus and hepatitis is many years, but until I find another way to get the client into my office on a regular basis I’m going to keep recommending vaccines annually. Annual vaccination has been and remains the single most important reason why most pet owners bring their pets for an annual or more often “wellness visit.” The importance of these visits for the health of the pet is exceptional. Therefore, dog owners must understand the vaccines are not the reason why their dog needs an annual wellness visit. Another reason for the reluctance to change current vaccination programs is many practitioners really don’t understand the principles of vaccinal immunity.
A significant number of practitioners believe: 1) the annual revaccination recommendation on the vaccine label is evidence the product provides immunity for (only) one year. – Not True
2) that they are legally required to vaccinate annually and if they don’t they will not be covered by AVMA liability insurance if the animal develops a vaccine preventable disease – Not True. Furthermore, certain companies will not provide assistance if practitioners don’t vaccinate annually with core vaccines. Not True – In fact most of the companies have now demonstrated their core products provide at least 3 years of immunity.
“… AVMA recognizes some animals might require a waiver from rabies vaccination because the vaccination poses an unacceptably high risk to the health of the individual animal, or a waiver might be necessary for research purposes. If adequate steps can be taken to minimize the chance of exposure to rabies virus, the AVMA recommends that such animals be granted a waiver from mandatory rabies vaccination, upon recommendation of a licensed veterinarian and with the concurrence of the appropriate public health authorities.”
35 state laws/regulations currently do not allow medical exemptions.
Read the Waiver language here: http://www.avma.org/issues/policy/annual-rabies-vaccination-waiver.asp
The AVMA has also provided an Annual Rabies Vaccination Waiver Form.
16 STATES currently have MEDICAL EXEMPTIONS: AL, CA, CO, CT, FL, IL, ME, MA, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OR, VT, VA and WI. It is possible your state may have an undiscovered exemption that is not part of the main law. Such was the case in Illinois. And CA regulations changed county to county. If your area has anexemption unlisted here, please contact the Rabies Challenge Fund. They are working to provide more medical exemptions for unhealthy animals.
Additional articles of interest:
Rabies Vaccination Medical Exemptions for Unhealthy Dogs
Vaccinating Unhealthy Pets: Beware Reactions & Vaccine Failure
Rabies Vaccination: 13 Ways to Vaccinate More Safely
What to Do When Your Dog Has a Vaccine Reaction
By Jean Hofve, DVM
Vaccination is an ongoing controversy in veterinary medicine today. Veterinary schools and specialty organizations are promoting fewer vaccines at longer intervals, while many practitioners stubbornly cling to their annual booster schedules. Who’s right, and what’s the truth?
The Science Behind Vaccines
As a responsible pet caretaker, you probably take your animal companion to the vet every year for a check-up and “shots.” You probably get one or more reminder postcards about it! But while an annual check-up is still vitally important for your pet’s health, vaccination—how many and which ones—is a stormy controversy among veterinarians.
Until recently, vaccinations were considered harmless and beneficial. But today, scientific evidence proves that there are many potential harmful effects.
Most common vaccines are made using a “modified live virus” (MLV), which means that the virus is alive and can replicate in the animal’s body, but has been modified so it does not cause disease, or at least not severe disease. Read more »