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Thoughts on no rabies vaccine in Texas

This forum is for dog lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your dog.

  
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Kally

I caught a- squirrel once...
 
 
Barked: Thu Jan 3, '13 9:13am PST 
Hi all,

I'm curious about your thoughts about the rabies vaccine. Over the past couple of years, I have been doing more reading and research about the vaccine. Kally was last vaccinated with a 3-year shot in 2009 - I chose not to do it last year in 2012. She is 10+ years old with a history of back problems and arthritis. I read some scary research about rabies vaccines being potentially linked to back problems - I don't really know how accurate this is but it freaked me out.

Anyway, from what I can tell there are no medical exemptions in Texas. I was able to avoid vaccines last year for Kally but am getting concerned that my vet is about to make another push for them this year. I just feel she is too old at this point and I don't want to risk any reactions or potential problems.

Any experience with this? I live in a small town and there are only two vets - both have the same opinions and want to vaccinate every year, for every thing. I'm also worried about this for my little one, Sophie who is 6.

Thanks for any thoughts! smile
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Fritz

Fritz, cats are- fun when they- run
 
 
Barked: Thu Jan 3, '13 9:19pm PST 
Read the book "rabid", be careful about rabies vaccines, rabies is present in the wildlife population and is nothing to play with.
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Member Since
12/02/2012
 
 
Barked: Thu Jan 3, '13 10:01pm PST 
I haven't actually heard about rabies vaccines getting linked to back problems and arthritis. But if you found a link, could you at least share it here so we could all take a look?

As for your dog's history of back problems and arthritis, it could possibly well have been brought about by age. You did mention that she was already 10 years old. When exactly did she start getting back problems and arthritis?
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Pookie

plush destroyer
 
 
Barked: Thu Jan 3, '13 10:11pm PST 
Although odds are your dog is well protected against rabies from the last vaccine, I'm pretty sure it's legally required to have it every 3 years in Texas. If your dog were to ever bite somebody you would be in trouble. I wouldn't risk it. Quite frankly, the odds of your dog having a reaction to the vaccine are very slim. I think most "vaccine danger" stuff is blown up way out of proportion.
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Vance CGC

You kids g'off- my lawn!
 
 
Barked: Fri Jan 4, '13 5:02am PST 
Most dogs in responsible homes are at very low risk of contracting rabies - and he likely is protected from previous vaccines. Most dogs are also at relatively low risk of a vaccine reaction. I personally have not heard anything from a credible source about rabies vaccines causing arthritis.

The bigger issue is the law. There are no rabies vaccine police running around checking health certificates, but if animal control gets involved in your life for any reason it will come up.

If your dog ends up in a bite incident, legally he can be taken for euthanasia on the spot. Even if you do find a way to get a health waiver, if there is a bite incident he will still be considered unvaccinated. Health waivers are protection from the fines and jail time associated with having unvaccinated dogs. They are not a substitute for an actual vaccine.
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Kaluha

Fly Free, Kaluha
 
 
Barked: Fri Jan 4, '13 5:57am PST 
We have a 3 year law here in PA. And for the most part, my dogs get their rabies shot (ONLY rabies) every 3 years as required by law.

But for Kaluha (who passed around Thanksgiving) I was firm in saying no. We have no exemptions either, but I just plain was NOT giving a 15 year old dog a rabies shot. Period.

My vet is cool. She knows I take good care of my dogs. She gave me the standard line of patter, but in the end the decision was mine and I decided not to for this dog.

And as they age, I may (or may not) make similar decisions for my other dogs.
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Vance CGC

You kids g'off- my lawn!
 
 
Barked: Fri Jan 4, '13 7:38am PST 
Just elaborating... It really does depend on the individual dog and how they live. If Vance had been a hang around home, easy-going, cuddly sort of guy, I would not have vaccinated him past 7 years old. But he was a grouchy, mouthy, vocal, scary-looking dog who was missing an eye, had severe joint problems, and went EVERYWHERE with me. I was too afraid of an accident - or someone perceiving aggression and filing a complaint - to let him go unvaccinated.

Even with all that, I did not renew his vaccination when he was 10 because his health problems had progressed beyond a point where it was safe to vaccinate.
It's all a weighing of risk.
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Trigger

*Blackdog*
 
 
Barked: Fri Jan 4, '13 8:02am PST 
Rabies doesn't just affect "irresponsibly" owned dogs.

It has no boundaries.


If an infected animal merely enters your yard, despite having no direct contact with your dog, it can still infect them and there is absolutely no cure. Your dog WILL die. You have legal ramifications that come into play as well as previous mentioned if your dog ever gets lost or has any ill fated contact with another human or even someone elses pet.


I'm not one to vaccinate against anything and everything but rabies is a must in my opinion.
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Vance CGC

You kids g'off- my lawn!
 
 
Barked: Fri Jan 4, '13 12:40pm PST 
I know, right? Good thing I didn't say, "Don't worry about it, rabies only affects dogs with irresponsible owners!"

Honestly.

The scenario you posted is extremely unlikely to happen. Yes, it is physically possible. If it were a common occurrence, though, all humans would be legally required to be vaccinated against rabies as well because raking leaves would be a public health hazard.

Rabies has an incubation period. I know where my dogs are and what they've been in contact with. If there is an accident and they contact a wild animal, or are out of my view for some reason and I don't know if they've contacted wild animals, I would react accordingly. If my dogs were regularly off-leash in the woods, I would be inclined to keep them vaccinated regardless, since, as I said, it's about risk analysis.

Obviously nothing is fool proof - vaccines aren't even 100% effective. That's life. But just like coughing into your elbow and washing your hands dramatically reduces your own risk of getting sick, so does paying attention to your dog (being a responsible owner) dramatically reduce your dog's risk of getting sick.
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Bam-Bam, CGC

Lil' Rubble
 
 
Barked: Fri Jan 4, '13 12:59pm PST 
Honestly, at that age and after a lifetime of already being vaccinated, I would feel completely comfortable saying "no more." Also, when I lived in Texas, my vet did do research on the laws regarding titering. I found I would be able to titer Bam-Bam rather than vaccinate, but I feel like specifically the city I lived in did not allow him to be licensed there with just a titer, and so if something happened (ie he got loose, bit someone, etc) I would be fined as though he didn't have the vaccine, even if he had a titer proving he was immune.
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