Home > Health Care - Dogs, Pet News, Pet Safety > Dogs and Rabies Vaccinations – Lies, Lies and More Lies

Dogs and Rabies Vaccinations – Lies, Lies and More Lies

A little late-night note: I want to make clear that this rant has very little to do with most honest and caring veterinarians, nor does it have anything to do with my own veterinarian, whom I adore. This is regarding one particular veterinarian clinic in Minnesota that sponsored a vaccination clinic and misrepresented the Rabies vaccine dosage both on their forms and in their reminder notice (see below). I apologize to any veterinarians this offended, but I would hope that you would recognize someone who is at the very least confusing people, and at the most, deceiving them.

A couple of days I ago I received an email that got me hopping mad… all over again. Here is a copy of the email.

You might think that a reminder notice would be a pretty innocuous thing to be mad about. But, it’s not the reminder notice itself that pisses me off. It’s the fact that it contains an outright lie that it is designed to misinform pet owners and will lead to many dogs to be over-vaccinated for no good reason (unless money is at play here?). Do you see the lie yet? I’ll give you a hint, it’s in the orange print. Not yet?

It’s the “2 Year Adult Rabies” description. It doesn’t exist. There is no 2 Year Rabies vaccine. It only comes in 1 Year and 3 Year doses (and most vets have gone to administering the 3 Year vaccine). This is why I am so mad. It’s a deception that most dog owners don’t even know about.

I wrote about this issue last year after viewing a local television news station’s investigation of veterinarians telling people to re-vaccinate their pets sooner than they needed to and for lying to pet owners about the 2 Year Rabies vaccine. I was so surprised to discover that the vet clinic that had held the vaccination clinic I attended had done the very same thing. Their form doesn’t list a 1 Year or 3 Year vaccination. They only mention options of 1 Year or 2 Year vaccinations, even though the 2 Year doesn’t exist. You can read my post in this and view the news report here.

Daisy and Jasper were vaccinated last year with a 3 Year Rabies vaccination, and yet, 1 year later the vet clinic wants to re-vaccinate my dogs – 2 years earlier than necessary! Of all the vaccines dogs get the Rabies vaccine is the one that is the hardest on dogs, but here is a vet clinic encouraging unsuspecting dog owners to re-up their vaccination 2 years early. Do you see anything wrong with that? I do.

More and more vets are learning that we are over-vaccinating our pets and that we may actually be causing more medical issues for them rather than less. Links are being made between the Rabies vaccine and canine auto-immune disorders and canine cancer (I included much of this information in my post from July). So there is reason for pet owners to be cautious (and for me to be mad when a vet clinic knowingly deceives the public).

I’ll be writing that vet clinic today to share my concerns with them, but I suspect they will not change their approach. So I warn all you dog owners out there to be informed. Because in the end, it’s your pet’s life that is at stake.

Why Vets Are Getting Away With Murder?
Rabies Challenge Fund
The Rabies Vaccine and Your Dog: Side Effects

  1. March 6, 2012 at 7:43 AM

    I’d be interested in hearing your vet clinic’s response and reasoning for vaccinating every year even when they clearly state it is a two year vaccine. Whether two year vaccines exist or not when they state something is for two years and then say it should be given every year something is fishy. They must have a logical response to this, otherwise it does look like a cash grab. Surely more people have questioned them. It’s all very strange.

  2. March 6, 2012 at 8:05 AM

    There must be a veterinary equivalent to the AMA – the AVA? Behaviour like this should be reported to a regulating body. That’s what they’re there for.

    I am relieved to report that my vet told us on the first visit that rabies vaccines are only given every three years. And i can’t believe I’ve owned Our Best Friend long enough that it’s time to vaccinate again!

  3. March 6, 2012 at 8:59 AM

    Well, after our recent vaccine-induced, life-threatening drama with Lilly … I’d sure be happy if states would go to a 5-year or even 7-year rabies. I’ve told our AAHA-accredited veterinary hospital many times that we follow the AAHA vaccine guidelines, which put not only rabies but the distemper-parvo-etc combo vaccine every 3 years. Yet, when I called to schedule Ginko’s 3-year rabies yesterday, I was told he was due for the combo as well (even though he had it last year). *sigh*

  4. Jen
    March 6, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    I read the reminder before the post and though “wait, what?” I agree with above posters, you should see if there’s somebody to report that to, because that’s really sketchy.

  5. Jan
    March 6, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    Some veterinarian offices hire marketing consultants to insure a steady stream of traffic without regard to the health of the pets.

  6. March 6, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    I’ve felt very fortunate that both my homeopathic and conventional vets have been very forthright and informative about answering my vaccine questions. My current vet does only conventional medicine but she is very patient about working through my questions and helping me decide which vaccinations are necessary and which aren’t. She’s conservative with her recommendations and she keeps up on the current knowledge.

    Just my way of saying there are excellent and thoughtful vets and if you’re not happy with one, keep looking.

    Also, if you have a good reason to not allow a rabies vaccine for your dog–for example, advanced age or ill health, you can often get a letter from your vet stating that it would be medically harmful. I’ve gotten such a letter for Agatha and found it even worked when we crossed the border into Canada.

    Good luck, Mel, in finding the right solution for your dogs with the right vet.

  7. MelF
    March 6, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    I want to clarify that this not from my vet, but the vet at the vaccination clinic I attended last year. My vet does not do this.

  8. March 6, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    How deceptive. We don’t have rabies here but our vet is very good even with the C5s. He doesn’t encourage getting them unless we need to. (Like when a boarding kennel wants documentation. Though a few kennels will also now settle for a signed clean bill of health from the vet in lieu of shots.)

  9. Deb
    March 6, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    OK so if the rabies is a three year vaccine, what about the DHLPP and Bordatella? My mutt was getting the Bordatella yearly, now I get postcards saying that every 6 months is now the requirement. I have been told that vets are suffering because people are not making appts for every little cough or scratch any longer. Are they just trying to get more money from us sooner these days?

  10. March 6, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Good article. I raise Great Danes. I give the necessary inoculations to the pups and on schedule. As for rabies, mine get vaccinated every three years. I have a Great Dane who is 13 going on 14 and she no longer gets the vaccine. I think twice about other boosters for her as well and I discuss this with my vet. If she doesn’t need it, or it could do more harm than good, at her age, we forgo the shots.

    All the rest of my dogs get what they need and no more. I don’t believe in over medicating any living thing, It’s dangerous.


    • abmri60
      September 14, 2012 at 12:37 PM

      The only thing you need to do is a yearly titer test.
      If you give your dogs distemper and parvo, make sure they are free of lepto, coronavirus and parainfluenza. Never give lyme vaccines. Finf a holisic vet in your area, or go to AHVMA.org.

  11. March 6, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    Thank you this post. Luckily my vet is honest and doesn’t give medication or procedures that aren’t absolutely necessary.

    I agree, this should be reported to the “powers that be”.

  12. March 6, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    Yes, this kind of stuff just confuses the heck out of people. I read bunch of reasoning why this is happening but deception is deception no matter which way you slice it.

    • Mel
      March 6, 2012 at 10:12 PM

      Thank you Jana. I was wondering what you would say. I agree. It completely confuses people.

  13. DebsSweetDeborah
    March 6, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    One of my dogs is 10 and was given his 3 year rabies vaccination several months ago. He has never reacted to any kind of shot until this one! By the time I got home, he had places all
    over his nose – allergic reaction! Big time! So I rushed back to the vet.. I will never do that again to him or my other three. Not going to do that again ever again.

    I had a Himilayan who lived for 17 years. She lived indoors AND was never given any
    vaccinations except initially when she was a kitten. She never once got sick! Never!

    I have exceptionally strong emotions towards all of the chemicals put in the bodies of
    our pets. I have seen for myself how much healthier pets/animals can be without all of that!

    • Mel
      March 6, 2012 at 10:11 PM

      I am so sorry you had to go through that Deb. My dog was 10 too when she received the Rabies vaccine and went into seizures by the next morning. She was hospitalized over the weekend and never fully recovered. That’s why this kind of shit pisses me off. They are playing with people’s companions here.

  14. Jen
    March 6, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    Wow Mel, that is interesting. I haven’t heard about the “2 year” rabies vaccine and I work in a vet clinic! I would like to hear what your vet says about this and I will do some asking around at work about this, see if any of the other vets have heard such a thing, and I will try and research it with the resources that I have. To be honest, we see a lot of pets from other clinics, some even from out of state and I have never seen a 2 year rabies vaccine in the 7 years that I have worked in the field!

    The only thing that I can think of off the top of my head is that we recently got a new 1 year rabies vaccine for cats and for cats only NOT dogs. The reason for the new vaccine is that it is said to reduce the chance of vaccine site sarcomas which are seen in cats more so than in dogs. The new vaccine does not have adjuvants in it and the 3 year vaccine does. It is said to be safer but it is still a very new vaccine.

    Maybe someone created a new rabies vaccine for dogs that I haven’t heard of:)
    Regardless, I would think that your vet would fill you in on this and not just send a reminder without explanation. I would be ticked off too!

    • Mel
      March 6, 2012 at 10:10 PM

      Thanks Jen. I will be very interested to hear what you find out. I should have made clear that I don’t think MOST vets do this. I think it is this particular vet that is being less than honest and maybe even outright dishonest. There is no two-year Rabies vaccine. It doesn’t exist. That’s why this kind of stuff makes me mad. It’s misleading the public and their clients. I would never go to this vet. I know my vet doesn’t operate this way. It’s this one particular vet that concerns me most. I did not get a chance to cal them today, but I will tomorrow.

      P.S. I had not heard of the 1 year vaccine for cats, but I had heard of vaccine site sarcomas. I hope this vaccine is the answer.

      • Jen
        March 6, 2012 at 10:39 PM

        The unfortunate thing is that I think that there is too many vets out there that are dishonest. It’s crazy some of the things that I see. Crazy and sad. I’m glad that this wasn’t your vet, and I am sorry if I misunderstood that:) One thing that I have found that is hard is all the different protocols that various clinics have, it’s hard for people to find the truth. Heck, I have even struggled with what vaccines to give and how often.
        I’ll let you know what I find out:)

      • Mel
        March 7, 2012 at 7:01 AM

        That’s really disheartening to hear Jen. I think it helps to know that someone commented on my FB page that they have worked for many vets and they have all been honest and caring people – as I have long thought. I think you bring up a good point about protocols though. Maybe this is part of the issue?

        (P.S. I think a lot of people thought it was my vet, so no worries. I should have highlighted the vaccination clinic part.)

      • Jen
        March 8, 2012 at 10:55 PM

        I haven’t found out anything on this Mel. Sorry. Everyone I asked can’t find a valid reason for a 2 year rabies vaccine:(

      • Mel
        March 9, 2012 at 6:47 AM

        Thanks Jen. So there is no reason for me to have a received a reminder notice from this clinic so early.

  15. March 7, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    It’s sad that a veterinarian would do this – I guess it brings home the importance of finding a good vet you can trust. I love my vet and immediately made sure my sister started with him when she adopted her dog. We have learned to be advocates for our own health – and this is a great reminder that we also need to advocate on behalf of our pets. Everyone should be receiving a certificate of vaccination when their pet gets their shots – be sure to check that certificate for the due date of their next shot before blindly scheduling an appointment!

  16. March 7, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    I’ve thought for a very long time that we over-vaccinate and not just our pets. Every year when we go for the annual check-up (which is really twice a year, once for each dog) we have a discussion with the vet regarding what they NEED.

    CT requires the Rabies vaccine every three years, that is the only vaccine required, however most training facilities and daycares require Parvo, Distemper and Bordatella.

    I outright refuse to give my dogs a shot for Kennel Cough. The first time Sampson had KC did some research and found that the shot only protects for three out of the twelve strains. That means my dog has a 75% chance of contracting it anyway. No thanks, KC while not a fun thing is not life threatening so I pass.

    The Lyme vaccine. The last time I checked with the Vet there were three brands of the Lyme vaccine, they knew one of them was detrimental to the dogs, the second one had no affect and the third was too new to know how it would work.

    Distemper…after asking last time we determined based on the age of our dogs that they weren’t likely to contract this, so we passed on that as well as the Parvo.

    Leptospirosis…yes this one we vaccinate for since the dogs run around a lot in the woods and this puts them at a higher risk.

    Bottom line we vaccinate for Rabies and Leptos, of course that is subject to change at each vet appoinment.

    Well you got me going, stepping down from my soap box now. 🙂

  17. March 7, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    in NY, you are required to get the rabies vaccine every single year. 😦

  18. March 8, 2012 at 3:51 AM

    Maybe you can sue! I really liked what Jodi had to say. Over vaccination does have us on out toes.

    • Mel
      March 8, 2012 at 6:25 AM

      I’m not into suing people, but I would like to see the clinic change their ways.

  19. March 8, 2012 at 11:01 PM

    I feel so blessed to live in an area that has NO vaccination laws (and incidentally, an incredibly low rabies incidence, only 2 cases in 2009). We don’t vaccinate anymore, especially since Felix has terrible vaccinosis reactions, but I do maintain current titer tests on both dogs. It boils my blood that despite recommendations from the vaccine manufacturers, the studies and in the face of all the risks that some vets continue to recommend yearly boosters. I would rather pay a vet NOT to vaccinate my pets then to subject them to more vaccines than needed.

    • Mel
      March 9, 2012 at 6:46 AM

      I am jealous Jodi. After reading Roxanne’s story of Lily and all she has ben through after having a severe reaction to the Rabies vaccine, I wish I could say no. In the end, all I can do is make sure they are not over-vaccinated in accordance with the law.

  20. March 11, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    Interesting. Haven’t seen that here luckily. While it’s been a few years since I worked in a vet clinic, I don’t think much has changed in the vaccine in that there aren’t 1 year doses and 3 year doses (the exception being the PureVax rabies for cats which is only 1 year I believe because they only tested it’s duration for one year). It’s all the same vaccine and what determines the yr or 3 yr duration is the age of the pet, previous vaccine history and local/state law.

    There are still places that require the vaccine be given more often- (List of state laws; local laws may be more restrictive- http://www.avma.org/advocacy/state/issues/rabies_vaccination.pdf )-although thankfully most states have gone to 3 years.

    I hate vaccinations. I began doing reduced vaccines back in the early 1990’s and even then I lost a cat to Vaccine Associated Sarcoma . My dog Ricochet had AIHA which was not caused by a vaccine, but there is a risk of another episode if he were to get a vaccine. I would also like to see them go to a long interval for the sake of our pets’ health.

  21. March 12, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    Wow… that’s just shady. I will definitely be interested to hear what the response from the clinic is.

  22. alice bastyr
    March 23, 2012 at 8:59 AM

    Does anyone know about the heart worm meds? Good, bad, does an 11 year old dog need it?

  23. June 23, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    i made a bad mistake with my dog.i got her a rabies shot in november 2011..i gave her another one in june 2012.I found the paper work when i got home and it said i had got her a 3 year rabies shot in nov 2011..will this hurt her?

    • Mel
      June 24, 2012 at 11:52 AM

      I would check with your vet Jason. If your dog has not had any reaction yet then hopefully she will be okay, but I would definitely check.

  24. Carolyn
    July 17, 2012 at 7:50 AM

    Wow, I have been suspecting that my dog was over-vaccinated. I took him in for his rabies and they advised it was a 3 year, the next year when I had to take him in for Heartworn testing & meds, they advised he needed his rabies, I argued he had a 3 year one that year before, and they said they did not THINK so and gave it to him again, I want to say it was later that year he started having seizures. We were in and out of vet for treatment and regulating his medication. This past January 2012, we moved out of state and I believe the stress of the move brought on more seizures. He was under treatment of a great vet, and was seizure free the past two months, then out of no where, last week, he went into status epilectus and we rushed him to ER Vet, less then 24 hours laters they could not control or break the seizing, and I had to put him down. I am beyond heartbroken, and have been trying to figure out since the seizures started what caused them. He was a small dog – Puggle, so orginally vet said it was his breed, his lab results were all good. But the Double Rabies Vaccine has always been in my mind!

    • Mel
      July 17, 2012 at 8:32 AM

      Oh Carolyn. I am so very sorry.
      Your experience is almost exactly what happened to my Indy. The only difference was she started having seizures the day after her rabies combo vaccination. Reading your story just brought it all back to me. My heart is breaking for you because I know the pain you are feeling. I am so very sorry for your loss.

  1. June 2, 2012 at 10:33 PM

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