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Dangers of Rabies Shot in Dogs

Most people do not think of their dogs developing side effects from an up-to-date or booster rabies shot or even being in danger where the shot could cost them their life. It is something we do not hear about very often. But a simple thing like knowing what the symptoms are could save the dog’s life.

Dangers of rabies shot in dogs depend a lot on recognizing the symptoms in its earliest stages. Their lives depend on it—ignorance is not always blessed. It can be life threatening and dangerous to the family pet without a person ever knowing what the problem is.

If your dog is showing symptoms after getting their rabies shot, it could be having a reaction. These symptoms can be potentially life-threatening . Immediate attention and action should be given if any of the following symptoms occur.


These symptoms can develop immediately or up to 3 days after the shot has been given:

  • Vomiting
  • Facial swelling
  • Fever or lethargy
  • Circulatory shock
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Death

Days, weeks or months after the shot:

  • Fibrosarcoma (cancer) at the injection site
  • Seizures and Epilepsy
  • Allergies
  • Autoimmune diseases, including organ disease, allergies and skin problems
  • Chronic digestive problems
  • Muscle weakness, especially lack of hind end coordination
  • Chronic digestive disorders
  • Skin diseases like Ischemic Dermatopathy / Cutaneous vasculitis
  • Behavior problems: aggression, destructive behaviors, separation anxiety and odd obsessive behaviors (like tail chasing and paw licking)


Lots of excellent rabies information in this  Dogs4Dogs video!!


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  • Alpha Dog

    William J. Greguras at 10:12am May 27

  • Alpha Dog

    Nancy Houser at 10:29am May 27 to William Greguras:
    (Answered through Facebook) The world is always better off with rabies shots (if your country can get them as there is a severe shortage right now other than in the U.S.) but we need to remain aware of the side-effects and dangers of them, affecting certain dogs. Rabies shots are no different than the necessary and law-abiding vaccines for children–even though it is now considered an extremely controversial issue. Many develop reactions to them. When I was supervisor at Bethphage Mission in Axtell, many of the “comatosed” people I cared for were that way because of their childhood vaccines and its side effects. Yet…still…our children are better off due to the massive numbers of children who do not develop life-threatening diseases they used to have. It is a win-win situation dependent on numbers.

  • Beth

    We have a history of over vaccinating dogs in this country. Vaccinating can cause many disorders in dogs (and other animals and humans, as well), including cancer. When I first read about that I thought how terrible it must be for those whose dogs became ill due to vaccines, and thanked my lucky stars it hadn’t happened to my dog.

    Recently, I sought help from a homeopathic vet to try to resolve some behavioral issues in my own dog, which despite training (positive, desensitization, counterconditioning, etc.) seemed to be worsening. These included fear aggression toward humans, especially in uniform, difficulty breathing, drooling, reverse sneezes, shredding of bedding, fear of water, noise sensitivity and eating of non-food items like rocks and dirt.

    My dog was diagnosed with vaccinosis rabies miasm, and when I was told this I looked up the symptoms and was shocked to find that all of these bizarre symptoms are listed. Yet, despite conclusive evidence ofthe effects of too many rabies vaccines, the medical community does not recognize this condition.

    My dog is due for rabies booster (they don’t need boosters once vaccinated) and I don’t know what I’m going to do. I can’t stand the thought of her world getting even worse – yet, it’s the law. Now I spread the word about the Rabies Challenge Fund, headed by Dr. Dodds, who is proving through research that our dogs don’t need to be vaccinated so heavily. Funding is needed so that Dr. Dodds (well known and respected for her work with canine thyroid issues) can getr the laws changed to extend the period between vaccines to 5 and then 7 years.

    Do your research and don’t vaccinate every year for distemper, (after a certain age they don’t need it at all anymore) don’t get bordetella vaccines unless you kennel your dog (or your groomer requires it) and don’t get the Lyme’s vaccine. It’s effective in less than half the cases, and it only “protects” against one of many many strains of Lyme’s disease.

    • Michael (Vet Student)

      This comment is for the people who think they are educated through the interent about vaccines…
      Okay through my many years of expeirence in Gainesville Fl where I worked close with UF and Oviedo Fl Orlando, I have never seem a reaction to a rabies vaccine. The ones I do see are the lyme and lepto vax and mainly they happen on small gentle breeds. When this occurs all you need is benadryl for most cases. Its not that serious.
      As for pets that are “downed” in the hind legs, its generally going to be from the way the vaccine was given. The tech or vet may have it a nerve. As for a 14 year old dog getting a herninated disc from the vaccine is ridiculous. That problem is from being 14 years old.
      Also, we vaccinate our animals once yearly for distemper, 2 yearly for bordetella, and the first time rabies is given its repeated in 1 year because of the dangers of spreading it to other mammals. After that first time it is only needed every 3 years.
      Why do we vaccine our animals so much and not humans?
      Well its because our animals are not humans. Their immune system does not work as efficiently as them. Why do you think humans don’t take heartworm medication…also the reason dogs and cats have higher body temperature is not because its by random chance but because temperature is a first line defense for the immune system. With a raised body temp they can fight off diseases with out even trying.
      And then we you do research information on the internet, which I highly recommend, please look at more than just one website. Whether the site agrees with my views or not its always better to be better informed on both sides of the debate. Looking at only one site that is radical will not help your pets health but most likely hurt it. Next someone will talk about about how they only feed raw meat to their animals or strictly just veggies. Please, the vet is your friend. We are schooled for a total of 7 years not to serve you or the pocket book, but to protect animals…you wouldn’t talk the same way about your pediatrician would you…

      • Nancy Houser

        Yes, I would. If I thought a pediatrician was in the wrong or I had doubts about his work, whether he went to college or not … yes, I would. No schooling makes vets or any doctor 100% full proof against making any time of mistake or knowing everything all the time… even a vet student.

        • Michael (Vet Student)

          So the only part of my comment that you choose to reply to was the part that I wasnt even serious about…What about the other 400 words where I explain why Vets do what they do…You don’t win a debate by just responding…you have to actually try

          • Nancy Houser

            I am sorry, Michael, but I run a dog rescue here and a blog which makes a small attempt to help people with their pets. Debating in my spare time is not a priority – responding and acknowledging your opinion is all I have the time to do. You need to read the letters from people who actually are having problems with their dogs after they have had rabies shots. Just because you are a vet student does not mean you should be blind-sided to the possibility of another situation that goes against what you are taught.

        • Michael (Vet Student)

          I apologize if I came on too strong…I read back and it looks like I did. I can sometimes get frustrated with the internet and the ideals that people on website put out. I have worked with many rescues in the past and what you do is a great service to our animal community. I can assure you that there will always be the rare instance of vaccine reactions with animals but that does not mean that they are not nesscesary. In order for the vaccine to be released they must be tested for atleast 8 years until they can be mass produced for animals as well as people. If there were any repeative traits that were caused by the vaccine they would not have been released. I am sure though that it doesn’t mean that symptoms can develop later in life as a pet ages, or if the vaccine was given incorrectly, but they are tested at great lengths to ensure that no to little complications have occured and if they do, its normally on the outside of the bell curve. Just as in people with penicillin, there are a few hand full of people who can not take it, but for a great many it can be life saving.

          So I guess what I am saying is that yes I am aware of the “other” situations that can occur, and what I can assure you of is that Veterinarians know of these risks and are prepared and skill to help their clients if the rare symptom occurs, by no means is this small percentage of patients reason to stop the rabies vaccine all together.

          Once again I do and many other people apprieciate rescues to pick up where animal shelters can not, to help animals when needed, but participating in blogs that describe the “dangers of rabies shots in dogs” is a tad extreme when you probably work very close to many vets and I am sure that they offer you a great deal of financial help with vaccines during this hard time so you can continue your work.

          I have read all the entries in the blog and that is why I felt comfortable to reply, all I ask is that you not act “blinded” to many of the possiblities that just because a Vet has a business and you work mainly non-profit that all vets are not out there to make money.

          A more problem in the world than vaccines are the “back-yard-breeders” that only care about money and continue to fill you rescue with an over-population of animals to the point where millions of pets are euthanized out of convienced every year.

          Once again I know I can out hard and strong and for that I apologized but I do believe that you will agree with some of my points or atleast you will research the scientific side of health care.
          Also be careful with homeopathic medcines, by definition the principals are:

          Like cures like

          For example, if the symptoms of your cold are similar to poisoning by mercury, then mercury would be your homeopathic remedy.

          Minimal Dose

          The remedy is taken in an extremely dilute form; normally one part of the remedy to around 1,000,000,000,000 parts of water.

          The Single Remedy

          No matter how many symptoms are experienced, only one remedy is taken, and that remedy will be aimed at all those symptoms.

          These are great ways to develop resistance to many viruses and bacteria. The pathogens are not fully destroyed and learn to develop genetic resistance to many drugs. Please becareful with our furry friends, they only have the best help that you give them.

          • Nancy Houser

            Michael, I accept your apology and accept your viewpoints. I have no problems with vets due to the fact they make money and I do not. In fact, Mark … our neighborhood vet … has saved many of our rescue dogs over the years. That has never been an issue here and I feel there is room for homeopathic services, natural services, and the medical field of veterinary work. Everything depends on the condition and the “furry patient.” We have no personal agenda against rabies shots here, but we also are aware of things that can develop – keeping our eyes open and opening the eyes of our readers. Just because someone has a problem with a rabies show does not mean every dog will. However, this can be in reverse…people with no problems with rabies shots for their pets should not ridicule those who do. We are not a one-size-fits all society, nor are our animals. The only person who fits into that agenda may be the animal abusers.

      • Aurora Vinhais

        Before anyone makes any assumptions about whether or not vaccines are dangerous, I would strongly suggest finding out the names of the companies that make the vaccines, and looking at their web sites to find the inserts sheets from the drug companies- and then read the list of the ingredients. And then do research on those ingredents, and you will find that those ingredients are poisons. You can get your facts from the inserts sheets from the drug companies!!!! Abd they will list the side effects and the dangers these shots cause.

        • Michael

          WOW…so this is the reason why people freak out. Do you realize that vaccines are generally modified viruses? They are meant to stimulate the immune system so yes they are going to be considered a poison. Of course you can be poisoned by anything in the right amount. How about oxygen-poisoning or even water poisoning? So yes these ingredients are listed as poisons but they stimulate a reaction in body so that the immune system can be better equipped when the body is later exposed to those poisons. If all people used that reasoning that you just exhibited then people wouldn’t take Tylenol or Advil or ibuprofen because of the later chance of liver failure. Vaccines are the body’s way of working out. Slowly building up strength in order to be better prepared for future battles.

          • Nancy Houser

            Michael….why don’t you submit a 300 – 500 word article on how vaccines work in a dog’s body and how they affect their immune system? I will post it for you to better inform our dog world “the other side of the story.”

          • Aurora Vinhais


            It not the rabies virus that I refered to as a poision. A virus is a virus. The poisions are the adjuvants that ‘turbo charge’ the body’s immune system instead of letting the body do that natural. They break down the bodies natural response to any illness. *The rabies virus is a live tenuated virus which means it is produced by live rabies cells that are grown in MONKEY cells, and not all those monkey cell’s are removed, so what is left over is injected into dogs and cats and farm animals. This causes hyper tension and other illnesses in dogs, cats and farm animals. *The posions are the adjuvants. And no amount of poisions in the body is safe. Mercury and thermasol. Mercury stays in the body and over times builds up and causes cancer and other illnesses. Thermasol is a salt that is used in fertillizer. It also causes illnesses and even death. * I have never heard of a case of a dog or cat getting having rabies. It’s a money making issue.* I called a few of the drug companies and they don’t give out or post the insert sheets for anyone to see. There are no case studies done to have statistics on the harmfull effects of the rabies vaccines in animals.* I did however get the insert sheet from my vet. And the SAME vaccine that is given to a dog is given to a cat and a COW and other live stock, and live stock cannot be killed (for people to eat) until one month after the vaccine has been in the body.* The vaccine that is given to the animals stay’s in the body- active, for 7 years, and some say that one vaccine is good for a lifetime. Please, if you are going to make comments please have some facts in backing up your statements. List all the ingredients and then look them up and way the facts. Read what vet’s are writing, and see what they tell about the adverse reactions and even death or paralyized pets they have to ‘put down’ because of the dangers of the rabies vaccine.

    • Jill Singer

      I have been aware of the dangers of booster vaccines for years and just refused them from my vet who was going to give my dogs their boosters along with their Rabies vaccine. But I could not refuse that vaccine even though one of my dogs has been struggeling with liver vaccine by law. Don’t do it if your dog is sick,it might kill her. Find a way to avoid it at least until your dog is well again, really well.

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  • Destiny

    OK,this is a little rediculous.I gave my 3 year old dog the rabie vaccine by a vet of course and they gave him less ammount than the bigger dogs at the rabies program.My dog had gotten 3 rabie shots alltogether in his life and has never experienced any of these “after effects”.I had many dogs that got a rabie shot and never ever had any problems.

  • Beh

    This last post incensed me. The vast majority of the veterinary community is in agreementt repeated vaccines pose a serious health risk to not only dogs but cats. Check out the Rabies Challenge Fund website to educate ourself before making uninformed comments.

  • Nancy Houser

    Yes, Beth, uniformed pet owners feel that “if my pet doesn’t have it or gets it, nobody’s will”. This is what causes the death and illness of many pets in our world. Just because I have not gotten the Swine Flu, does it mean nobody else will? Or die from it? Facts show otherwise. It is a good thing that her dog has not had problems with rabie shots, but it could have. Always be aware and obtain knowledge about yourself and your pets. Part of becoming mature.

  • monica b

    My ten-yr-old, four pound, long-haired chihuahua just had a 3-yr rabies shot and bordetella. She is supposed to go back in two weeks, to have the 5in1 and the Corona. The day after she had a shot, she seemed fine but yelped when I tried to pick her up. I checked her legs and she didn’t want to eat or walk. She did walk with a strange dragging motion with her back legs. I thought it was because of her nails being too long so I had them trimmed. She is still a bit lethargic, wanting to hide – very unusual – never did that before; she stays in her bed or crate almost all day. I’m not sure what to do as it seems unusual – but then I read this site that says a side effect could be, ‘lack of hind end coordination’. Can anything be done about this? Should she have the other two shots in two weeks? We moved from Hawaii to FL – so she only had a one-yr rabies shot a year ago, with no problems. this is only her second in her life. We went to a vet at PetCo & don’t have a regular vet. I don’t have the money to pay for extensive tests. Any suggestions?

    • http://Vaccinationsquestions shelley staffig

      I just found out my city opened a clinic to help people be able to afford the shots. Times are rough now, so check with your city or shelter. NEVER take your pet to a grooming salon, they have no doctor available. They only groom pets and sell supplies. I have two Chihuahus one is 5 and the other is 7, they have had their shots since they were born but now only the 5 year old is getting the Distemper & Rabies and the 7 year old is just getting a rabies shot. After age 7 that’s all they needs because they have it built up in their system. Good luck, stay away from grooming salons. Shelley

  • Nancy Houser

    Monica….have you told your vet the dog was having a reaction to the original shot? and if so….what did he/she say?

  • Nancy Houser

    Personally, if she had a reaction to the first one (which it looks as if she did), I would not give her any more until it gets figured out. Where did they give her a shot at…in the hind leg or in the neck? They may have hit a nerve or bone if given in the leg. Watch for a fever if you can…check her rectally to see if it is normal. If it hits the bone it may become seriously infected.

  • Beth

    I don’t know what those shots that you mentioned are. I don’t believe that damage from the vacine can be undone – Iwork with a homeopathic vet to try to get my dog as close to her original state as possible. It is more expensive than going to the regular vet since we have several consultations a year. I think hat most states require rabies only every three years so there’s no reason she should get any now. To my knowledge there is no difference in shots as far as duration of effectiveness ( one year v three year) Please go to the rabies challenge website and look for more information there. I’m hoping things improve for your little dog!

    • Nancy Houser

      What would you suggest, Beth?

  • Beth

    I suggest talking to the vet, first and foremost. Vets are required by law to vaccinate for Rabies. I would recommend stopping Bordetella vaccinations and looking for facilities who require only titres if you board your dog or tae him to a groomer. If you do neither of these things, there is no need to use this vaccine.

    We do not have a Corona virus in our area. I researched and found that the 5 in 1 series is a group of vaccinations that protect against Corona and distempe. If your dog is 10, has had these vacines in the past, he’s had enough and you don’t need to continue to vaccinate.

    Many vets will respect your wishes without comment, others will argue for the vaccination. The choice is yours. You are not obligated to get these vaccines, and in my opinion, you should not get them, especially in light of the reaction your dog just had to the rabies vaccine.

    Feed your dog the best quality of food you can, and promote health naturally so that his immune systen can stay well and grow stronger. Vaccines damage the immune system, and should be given as sparingly as possible.

    Humans get one vaccine (for a particular condition) during our lifetimes – why are we pumping animals with smaller bodies and shorter lifetimes full of chemicals that far exceed what we would ever receive?

    My dogs will receive no vaccines, except as required by law, for the rest of their lives. I’m sorry I let my vet talk me into the last distemper shot they received. People need to read, educate themselves, and make the decsions they feel are best for their animals with confidence.

  • monica b

    Thanks Beth and Nancy for your comments. I asked a vet and he said it’s most likely a side effect from the rabies and not the bordetella. That said, since she is slowly improving he suggested I monitor her food and water intake (he says, basic nursing care) and if she gets a fever or gets worse, ie. seizures, can’t walk at all, stop eating/drinking – I should take her to emergency vet care.

    He stated that she should get better in 4-5 days. Today, she is walking more, without the “dragging” of her back legs; she ate this morning and pooped, which she didn’t do yesterday, and has had food and water without much coaxing. IF it were not a required shot – I would not have had her take the rabies shot. The first one she had in Hawaii was only good for one year, so according to FL law, I had to get another one – little did I know, as she has never had any problems with her shots – that this would occur.

    I spent a considerable time reading on the side effects of rabies also. It’s interesting that they (vets) don’t tell owners of the side effects and it could take up to 45 days AFTER shots that these behaviors can occur. That’s shocking! Thank God for the internet, it was my error in not looking up these side effects in the past.

    What are your thougths on heartguard prevention pills or liquids? If there’s no fleas and ticks should I just skip that preventive pill and do the heart prevention? There are mosquitos in Orlando – so I feel I need to protect the dogs from that. I just don’t see an alternative to protecting them.

    One more questions, if I should post this in a different thread please let me know. I was wondering if anyone knows how to find a Non-anesthetic dental cleaner for dogs. I found one in Hawaii – which was only $75 he was awesome. I didn’t think i would have a problem finding another one, since Orlando is so huge, but I can’t seem to find anyone but regular vets who put dogs under anesthesia and my dogs don’t do well after they wake up – especially with their age and size – so now I have two little chihuahuas who are in desperate need for dental care – but I’m concerned that the dental cleaning could kill them. In addition it’s about $300-$500 per dog! thanks for any direction you can give. I’m glad I found this site.


  • Beth

    I recommend foregoing the flea and tick preventives like Frontline. There are natural alternatives that can help prevent fleas and ticks from latching on in the first place. Also every dog I know who has contracted Lyme’s (prevalent here in NJ) has had either gotten the vaccine and/or used frontline, it’s simply not effective.

    As for heartworrm. it’s been recommended to me that if you get a heartworm test 2x a year you can forego the heartguard. Often in early stages treatment for heartworm is heartguard so the twice a year check up should catch it. My dogs have a bvery stressful time with the vet so even though they are at the age when 2x a year vet visits are recommended, I don’t do it. My homeopathicvet (dr. Feinman at recommends using heartuard but less frequently than the box advises – only every 6 weeks, and not when mosquitoes are not present (much different here in Nj than FL)

    Also please forgive poor typing – I hate to present a sloppy appearance but my PC crashed with an automatic Windows Update and I am working on a new keyboard – which they don’t make like they used to! Tried to catch/correct ensuing typos!

    p.s. – again – no real way of knowing if bordetella vaccine contributed to the effects – if you don’t need it – DON’T GET IT!! All vaccines have potential for damaging side effects.

    Good Luck!

  • monica b

    Hi Beth,
    Thanks for your recommendations. I’ll take a look at Dr. Feinman’s site – thanks for the resource.
    Don’t worry about poor typing, my blackberry has that auto spell-correct which makes me look like a goof when I press send to quickly.
    After going back on google I was able to use a few different key words and found a national site that does non-anesthesia dog teeth cleaning and referred to FL clinics – only downside is the one that is closest to me requires an initial office visit of $49, then IF the vet recommends to the procedure the dogs need to have current rabies, bordetella, and distemper – which they didn’t get – and then it costs $185 per dog.
    I looked at your site and inspired for additional topics to write on as I just started a blog for my dogs where I’ll be posting pictures – and stories for children – starring my pets. 
    Take care, monica

    • Nancy Houser

      Monica…it is a good idea to write about your dogs to help other people. You just never know, do you? Anyway, it is a good idea. If you want to do a guest post here at wcd, I can put it on and link to your website for more exposure to your site. Good luck on everything. If you can, get on Amazon and there are used books for almost nothing for natural health for dogs. They provide alternative answers to some of your problems.

      • Aurora Vinhais

        Also, may have some answers for you.

  • Heidi

    Four days after I had my dog vaccinated against rabies she started showing symptoms of being paralyzed on her left side mostly the hind left leg. I took her to the emergency veterinarian, he diagnosed her with a herniated disc, and treated her with steroids. My dog is already 14 years old, and never showed signs after having her rabies vaccination done. After I read and researched the side effects I am thinking it might have been caused by the vaccine.

    • Jen

      my dog just had this happen, my vet told me the same excuse, put my dog on steroids, my dog is in so much pain right now and I feel horrible…is your dog doing any better?

      • Michael (Vet Student)

        How are both your dogs doing? Have they improved at all. I would ask my vet if they had a system for the location of the vaccines. If a tech or Vet gave the vaccine incorrectly they could have cause irriation under the skin. Also…jen, how old is your dog too and what breed. Many animals as they get older show signs of back problems, even if you don’t believe in steriods please do not stop them with out a DVM advice. The steriods (most likely prednisone) will reduce the inflammtion that might be causing the disc to move, let you dogs take it easy for a while. Also the addition of glucosamine and chondroitin is an easy and inexpensive remedy for joint pain. And if you need something stronger your can ask about adequan injections which have proven to increase the amount of “joint juice” which then can repair cartilage. Although if x-rays have been done and their is ossification around the body vertebrate then it would be more likely its due to either genetics or age.

        • Nancy Houser

          Thanks for all your help, Michael. I am sure everyone appreciates all the help they can get. That is interesting about where the location of the rabies shot should be.

      • bud baker

        I was told by a vet. that steroid shot given to dogs will harden their liver, I stopped the shots

  • pat

    i have 2 cavalier King Charles spaniels father and son who normally are close and loving to each other.However 12 days after their rabies vaccine they have suddenly turned on each other and now we cant have them in the same room. this has now been going on 3 weeks and we are desperate for a solution they are like devil dogs if they see each other
    i am sure it is the rabies vaccine

  • Beth

    Vets are increasingly agreeing with the fact that more vaccination is not a good thing. I hope the veterinarian student has looked at the information on the Rabies Challenge Fund which is led ny a world renown vet. The goal is to stop over-vaccination of animals for Rabies precisely because of the problems it is known to have caused including behavioral problems and cancer. Dr. Dodds is well known amonmg other things for her thyroid research with Greyhounds.

    Also, until now, vets have gotten little nutritional training other than from the pet food companies who are owned largely by pharmaceutical companies.

    Just because consumers are becoming more educated doesn’t mean they are extremist nuts. Of course we can’t do without veterinarians. But we can and should do the research (not on the Internet alone) to become aware of the options that exist.

  • Aurora Vinhais

    I did research on vaccines for a speech class, for a persuasive speech. I will cut and paste some interesting facts soon. Right now I am exhausted! But I can tell you that the body is already designed to fight off infections and virus’ naturallly. I know that the vaccines are made from live viruses, called tenuated technology- but you will know it as gene splicing. I know that they add aduvants that unnaturallly turbo-charge the body, and those are posiions too.

    I know that drug companies list % of how many bodies became illl or died from these vaccines. I know that alot of viruses are kept live to make money off of the vaccines. I know that dr.’s pay 60 to 90 cents per shot and charge $15 to $25.00 per shot. I know that they like to charge another $50.+ to listen to the beat and look in the ears instead of offering a blood test to look for things.

    I can write more later. Be aware and know the facts.

    • Nancy Houser

      Thank you, Aurora. This is interesting, and we will be waiting.

    • Michael (Vet Student)

      Yes the body is designed to fight off infections and viruses off naturally but you are missing the point of vaccines. They are introduced into our body early so when we get the viruses or infection and we are not prepared, we can better fight them off. Vaccines are do not give us a magically cloak that will prevent the virus altogether, it just gets our bodies, canine and feline also, to develop IgG memory antigens so it doesn’t take as long to fight it off.
      As for the percentages, I know it sounds awful but when you are testing a vaccine or any other drug, you must record everything. What you are not reading though is if those people who became ill had a rare reaction to the drug or may have already been sick and not told the drug administration. When researching a drug, if a person feels that they have sneezed more than normal then the drug company MUST list it as a side effect.
      As for the price mark up, I understand that when you see the percentage of profit you may get upset. But doctors go to med school and I go to Vet school because we love to help. Of course you can’t help if people if you run a “At cost” clinic. I will spend close to $200,000 when I am done and yes I don’t want to be a martyr and carry that debt because I feel bad about charging people money for the time I spent busting my rear till 4 am before a test to make sure I knew about the parasympathetic nervous system. Some people take pride in the education and hard work that they have gone through to feel that their opinion is appreciated. In whatever profession you are in, I am sure that you up charge for a task that people could do for much less. Plus if you don’t want to go to the Vet for vaccines, you can also use the vaccines at the feed store that are out dated and not kept in the fridge which will cause even more mutations and cancerous tumors.

  • Denise Kinsey

    I rescue wolves & wolf dogs. I reside in a state that it is illegal to own or have a wolfdog as a pet. 1 reason because there are no proven rabies vaccination. I know this is BS because I work on a wolf sanctuary in California and they vaccinate there wolves as well. I have placed many wolfdogs in loving homes as well and again no problem with the rabies vaccine.
    Now I heard that the vaccine only works in 1 breed of dog(or proven to work). Is this is true what breed of dog would that be? 2nd part of question would be if your dog is an indoor dog and gets his or her shots every year and this dog bites someone, why would they have to kill and test the animal for rabies.
    Thank you for your time.
    Sincerely yours,
    Denise Kinsey

    • Michael (Vet Student)

      I have not personally heard of the rabies not being effective in wolves. I worked at a clinic where we had several wolf clients and we vaccinated them for rabies every 3 years just like poodles, I would be interested as well to know where/who mentioned that the rabies vaccine only works in one breed of dog. I would love to hear the reason since the differences the canine immune system between breeds is almost nonexistent.

      To your second question, it does not matter if it’s an outside dog or inside dog or even any other mammal that you may house. If the animal bites/attacks someone and it is reported you must show proof of vaccination of the rabies vaccine. If the animal is not up to date then its quarantined from 14 days to up to 6 months which the owners is responsible to pay for its boarding. If it’s a reoccurring problem where the animal is attacking people/other animals then the pet will be put down due to aggression. At least this is how it’s been in Florida for the most part. Other people may have different experiences with animal control due to a lot of it being a case-by-case basis. Also, another thing about the rabies virus is that in order to test a dead animal for rabies, the head will be severed and sent to a lab so that a piece of the brain tissue can be analyzed. So to prevent this from happening to you, lets keep them vaccinated and in your case hidden from authorities so that these wolves and live long lives and if you find a veterinarian that will neuter them on the side I would advise it so that more wolves don’t have to worry about being placed in good homes.

      • Denise Kinsey

        Thank you for your response. I am aware of how they test a dog for rabbies after a dog is euthinzed. I know the rabbies shot works on wolves and wolfdogs. I know a friend who’s German Shepherd was put to sleep after a bite and it was not the dogs fault. I was wondering why they would even have to test a dog if shots are caught up. Not sure of the breed of the dog the shot only works on(still researching my records). My thoughts were on the law in the state I live in that says the rabbies shot is not proven to be affected in wolves and wolfdogs. Trying to pass a law in my state that grand-fathers people who already have a wolfdog ( not everyone should have them only an exsperienced person should). The law on these things can be quite tricky.
        Thank you for responding.

  • bud baker

    My dog came in contact with a rabid raccon , she got her first rabies shot 2 an 1/2 weeks prior to the confrontation, she is now in quarentine, my boxer killed the coon in my fenced in back yard, he has had three rabies shots. your comments please p.s. I rescued the 6 mo. old lab pup from the spca.

    • Nancy Houser

      She is in quarantine for observation, I assume? The 2 1/2 weeks rabies shot prior to the attack should be protection enough. Otherwise the vets would have used different measures than quarantine, I think. She should also have been given all shots (including rabies) at the spca before you brought her home…plus her yearly rabies shot at the vet in between.

  • Judy

    My dogs–I have had 6 out of my 7 dogs die way too young. I am sure it is from the rabies vaccine and too many other vaccines given together or too often.

    a. young?–Sept., 1979 to May, 1984 (5)
    b. heart disease–Nov.,1981 to July, 1988 (6 1/2) daughter to above
    c. double heart disease–May, 1988 to October, 1996 (8 1/2)
    d. anemic disease (red blood cells fighting each other-3 blood transfusions in just one week-still not good enough)–July, 2002 to May, 2008 (5 3/4)
    e. aggressive behavior (bit me badly on my hand)–April, 2008 to February, 2010
    (21 months) BECAUSE OF TWO RABIES SHOTS (4 1/2 months and again at 19 months)
    f. spinal disease/ruptured disk–after just 3 months after rabies shot (surgery*paralized for 8 1/2 months*new vet*walked with a wobble)—glaucoma*one eye removed (both eyes)–incontinence-low thyroid (fat*meds*lost weight)*second eye (pressure 80 vs. normal 10-12) Put down–
    April, 2000 to March, 2010 (9 3/4)
    g. knee bones rubbing together (both knees-a month apart of each other-surgery on both knees) August 13th, 1996 to present (14 1/2)

    I now have two rescue Springer Spaniels (3 yr.(rescued Jan., 15, 2010—birth-Sept. 14, 2007) and 2 yr.(rescued March 16, 2010—birth-Jan. 5, 2009) and I am NOT getting yearly vaccines (shots) that are not necessary (titer tested).

    My boys WILL get titer tested.

    I DO NOT want to get the rabies vaccine (shot) at all anymore. This vaccine has hurt all my dogs in different ways. I have heard the rabies vaccine is good for 5 to 7 years
    (Dr. Dodds).

    My 3 year old Springer is due for his Rabies shot next January, 2012. I want him to be Rabies tested (titer tested) so I do not have to get him the Rabies shot ever again. It really makes me sick to have read/researched all about the Rabies vaccine and other vaccines side effects. It has made me cry for my other dogs that have gotten sick/died.

    My beautiful 3 year old Springer is a very happy therapy dog. People just love him. I do not want him or our other rescue Springer dying young.

    **vet students** I do not have much trust in my vets anymore. They have pushed me to get vaccines every year. As seen above–looked what happened to my dogs. It is not by coincident either.
    Too many vaccines kills.
    Too many rabies shots kills (2 is too many).

    • WayCoolDogs

      Judy, I am extremely happy you sent this information with adequate data to back it up. Wonderful…..and if they do this to dogs, what do they do to children?

    • Student

      I would be curious to know the breeds of your dogs, also there last weights and level of activity before there problems started. Many of the conditions you have listed sound like common genetics. Also, were they all rescues or pure bred, or both. Please list each animal that correspond with the letters you wrote and include, breed/weight (before problems)/rescue or not/age acquired and age passed away. Sorry to stir up old feelings, but I am very curious
      Another thing is why do you feel the rabies vaccine itself is too blame, as a dog is growing he is exposed to several other vaccines, Distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvo, Parainfluenza, bordetella, lyme, corona, giardia (all of which are given more often than rabies) and other meds like pyrantel, cestex, penicillin, dexamethosone, isoflourine (neuter anesthesia), ketmine, telazol, atropine, xylazine, or antibiotics like cephalexin and clavamox.
      As for the comment about what they do to children, it is not normally given to children on a regular basis. The rabies vaccine that is given to dogs is created different than for humans; either with chicken embryos, or from the generous people who donate plasma. These processes are more expensive than the production for canines/felines. The vaccines will be given to humans on an as need basis, either when exposed, going to be exposed or going to be working with animals on a more personal basis, as in wildlife or veterinary medicine. As of yet there have been no research proving the rabies vaccine to be dangerous. It is very easy for us to assume that the reasons for our dogs are due to someone else’s actions. The fact is that 4 of 5 household dogs are overweight (joint/heart/lung/kidney/thyroid problems) and believe it or not, dental health (joint/heart/liver/kidney/lung) and genetics (the more pure bred, the worst). All of which have been accepted in the animal science community and in the human world as well.

  • ragini

    hi guys.need some help.i have got my 2 yr old daschund a rabies vaccine shot following a stray dog bite.from the second day he z not zble to walk on his hind legs .he z nt evne letting me touch it temporary or permanant and whtz the remedy

    • WayCoolDogs

      Not being able to walk or allow you to touch him may be because of the bite or shot hitting a muscle or something. Does your dog have a fever and is he drinking water? Did you take him to the vet for the rabies shot…if so, I would call the vet and describe his behavior.

      • Student

        What it sounds like is that the technician or Vet (who ever gave the injection) hit the sciatic nerve. This is actually a commonly thing, usually more common if the Vet Tech gave the vaccine. I agree that the pain is problem from the bite or sciatic nerve.

    • Sunita Pawar

      Hi Ragini, Just wanted to ask u is ur dog fine now …??As even I have a 5 months pup who was given rabies vaccination and within 2 days he cannot walk now with his hind legs …I am very worried ..wanted to know if its temporary or permanent? ..Both his hind legs are functioning ,he is able to move them,sterch them, but he cannot carry his weight on the hind legs so he cannot stand or walk ?? please help me dear ??waiting for ur reply ??or email me on

    • Sunita Pawar

      Hi Ragini , Just felt like sharing dis good news with u dat my dog who was temporarily paralyzed for 3 weeks after d rabies vaccine is fine now … he recovered on his own …we use to give him warm oil massage by very gently massaging without pressure — every three days or so …now by gods grace he is fine, running ,etc ..all back to normal …..hows u dog ya .hope he is fine too …tc….god bless …. from ur net friend….

  • Kathy

    I just had my 17 years old dog put to sleep. On Sunday, she had the rabies shot in her hind leg. Sunday evening, she could not walk in the grass area to release herself; she went on the sidewalk. Monday morning, she could not bearily walk to go outside to release herself. Monday evening, she could not walk at all. I called SPCA who gave her the rabies shot. They stated that she had a reaction and it will probably wear off in a couple of days. She got worse and she would not eat at all. I could not afford to take her to the vets. She had never been sick in 17 years.

  • Student

    First let me say how horrible of an experience it is to go through something like this. May I suggest planting rosses or a small tree in her remembrance. I planted a lime tree for my “Franco” and I swear it was the best fruit.

    As for the vaccine, I would also like to suggest that you call the animal shelter and ask what the brand of rabies they use. Then called the manufacturer to report your case. The company will have a person to talk to you. Feedback very important for the betterment of their products. Many times when there have been issues with vaccines, as in the feline vaccine that gave fibrosarcomas, it was usually the adjuvant that is mixed with the killed virus.
    Also, next time your animal needs an injection of any kind and the tech reaches for the hind leg, stop them. First ask if they know what the semi-membranous is. If they do not, then ask if the veterinarian is available to give the injection. The semi-membranous is the ideal muscle for Intramuscular injections. Missing this muscle could mean a direct stick to the sciatic nerve that works the muscles of the leg. If the damage to your dog was unilateral then I would bet that they hit the nerve.

    Again I am sorry for your lost. Please don’t let this experience deter you from vets

  • Michael (Vet Student)

    This is forever one who would like to know about how Rabies is handled and the United States. This is copied from the PDF, If am able to upload a document please let me know, it would be easier to read. Thank you.

    May 31, 2011
    TO: State Public Health Veterinarians
    State Epidemiologists
    State Veterinarians
    Other Parties Interested in Rabies Prevention and Control
    FROM: Catherine M. Brown, DVM, MSc, MPH, Chair
    Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control Committee
    SUBJECT: Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control, 2011
    The National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV) is pleased to provide
    the 2011 revision of the Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control for your use and
    for distribution to practicing veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitators, animal welfare organizations,
    and officials in animal control, public health, wildlife management, and agriculture in your state.
    This document is reviewed and revised as necessary, and the most current version replaces all
    previous versions. This cover memo summarizes the most notable changes that were made to the
    document and provides updates on other rabies issues.
    Part I A.1. The national case definition for animal rabies was added for clarification of how
    rabies cases are defined for public health surveillance purposes.
    Part I A.9. was expanded to: clarify that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC)
    rabies laboratory is available for confirmatory testing and on an emergency basis to expedite
    exposure management decisions; include information on testing methodology appropriate for
    field testing of surveillance specimens; and to clarify that there are no reliable ante mortem
    rabies tests available for use in animals.
    Part I A.11. was expanded to include additional research topics that warrant further study.
    Part III: The table of rabies vaccines licensed and marketed in the U.S. was updated for 2011.
    Additional references have been added to provide scientific support for information provided in
    the document.
    The fifth World Rabies Day will be on September 28, 2011. More information is available at:
    The 22nd annual international conference on Rabies in the Americas (RITA) is scheduled for
    October 16-21, 2011 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. More information is available at:
    CDC’s Rabies Laboratory is attempting to collect specimens to evaluate the potential for
    rabies transmission via milk from lactating animals. Over the past 15 years, CDC has received
    mammary tissue and unpasteurized milk from approximately 1 rabid cow per year. To date, no
    rabies virus antigen or nucleic acids have been detected. However, continued collection of
    appropriate samples is critical to obtain a sufficient sample size to make evidence based
    recommendations. When rabies is suspected in a lactating animal, milk and mammary tissue
    should be collected and stored. If rabies is diagnosed, the milk and mammary tissue should be
    shipped on dry ice to:
    Dr. Charles E. Rupprecht
    DASH, Building 18, Room SSB218
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    1600 Clifton Road, NE
    Atlanta, GA 30333
    (404) 639-1050
    Enhanced surveillance of the rabies virus variants currently circulating in the U.S. is critical for
    detecting new or introduced rabies virus variants. CDC requests an aliquot of CNS tissue from:
    rabid domestic animals (especially dogs); less common non-reservoir species (e.g. ruminants);
    and, from rabid carnivores in areas where bats are the only enzootic rabies reservoir, for
    antigenic and phylogenetic characterization. In addition, to better evaluate the potential of certain
    species groups to transmit rabies, the entire head of any rodent or lagomorph testing positive for
    rabies should be submitted to evaluate the presence of rabies virus in salivary glands. Where
    feasible, rabies diagnostic laboratories should store the heads of highly suspect rodents and
    lagomorphs until testing is completed. Positive specimens should be sent to CDC at the above
    address for further analysis.
    Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control, 2011*
    National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, Inc. (NASPHV)
    Rabies is a fatal viral zoonosis and a serious public health problem (1). All mammals are believed to be
    susceptible to the disease, and for purposes of this document, use of the term “animal” refers to mammals. The
    disease is an acute, progressive encephalitis caused by a lyssavirus. Rabies virus is the most important
    lyssavirus globally. In the United States, multiple rabies virus variants are maintained in wild mammalian
    reservoir populations such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats. Although the U.S. has been declared free of
    canine rabies virus variant transmission, there is always a risk of reintroduction of these variants (2-6).
    The virus is usually transmitted from animal to animal through bites. The incubation period is highly variable.
    In domestic animals it is generally 3-12 weeks, but can range from several days to months, rarely exceeding 6
    months (7). Rabies is communicable during the period of salivary shedding of rabies virus. Experimental and
    historic evidence document that dogs, cats, and ferrets shed virus a few days prior to clinical onset and during
    illness. Clinical signs of rabies are variable and include inappetance, dysphagia, cranial nerve deficits, abnormal
    behavior, ataxia, paralysis, altered vocalization, and seizures. Progression to death is rapid. There are currently
    no known effective rabies antiviral drugs.
    The recommendations in this compendium serve as a basis for animal rabies prevention and control programs
    throughout the United States and facilitate standardization of procedures among jurisdictions, thereby
    contributing to an effective national rabies control program. This document is reviewed and revised as
    necessary. The most current version replaces all previous versions. These recommendations do not supersede
    state and local laws or requirements. Principles of rabies prevention and control are detailed in Part I;
    recommendations for parenteral vaccination procedures are presented in Part II; and all animal rabies vaccines
    licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and marketed in the United States are listed
    and described in Part III.
    The NASPHV Committee
    Catherine M. Brown, DVM, MSc, MPH, Chair
    Lisa Conti, DVM, MPH
    Paul Ettestad, DVM, MS
    Mira J. Leslie, DVM, MPH
    Faye E. Sorhage, VMD, MPH
    Ben Sun, DVM, MPVM
    *Address all correspondence to:
    Catherine M. Brown, DVM, MSc, MPH
    State Public Health Veterinarian
    Massachusetts Department of Public Health
    Hinton State Laboratory Institute,
    305 South St.
    Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
    Consultants to the Committee
    Donald Hoenig, VMD; AVMA
    Donna M. Gatewood, DVM, MS; USDA Center for
    Veterinary Biologics
    Lorraine Moule; NACA
    Barbara Nay; Animal Health Institute
    Raoult Ratard, MD, MS, MPH; CSTE
    Charles E. Rupprecht, VMD, MS, PhD; CDC
    Dennis Slate, MS, PhD; USDA Wildlife Services
    James Powell, MS; APHL
    Burton Wilcke, Jr., PhD; APHA
    Endorsed by:
    American Public Health Association (APHA)
    American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
    Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL)
    Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE)
    National Animal Control Association (NACA)
    Part I. Rabies Prevention and Control
    1. CASE DEFINITION: An animal is determined to be rabid after diagnosis by a qualified laboratory as
    specified in Part I.A.9. The national case definition for animal rabies requires laboratory confirmation by
    • A positive direct fluorescent antibody test (preferably performed on central nervous system
    tissue); or
    • Isolation of rabies virus (in cell culture or in a laboratory animal (8).
    2. RABIES EXPOSURE: Rabies is transmitted when the virus is introduced into bite wounds, open cuts
    in skin, or onto mucous membranes from saliva or other potentially infectious material such as neural tissue
    (9). Questions regarding possible exposures should be directed promptly to state or local public health
    3. PUBLIC HEALTH EDUCATION: Essential components of rabies prevention and control include
    ongoing public education, responsible pet ownership, routine veterinary care and vaccination, and
    professional continuing education. The majority of animal and human exposures to rabies can be prevented
    by raising awareness concerning: rabies transmission routes, avoiding contact with wildlife, and following
    appropriate veterinary care. Prompt recognition and reporting of possible exposures to medical professionals
    and local public health authorities is critical.
    4. HUMAN RABIES PREVENTION: Rabies in humans can be prevented either by eliminating
    exposures to rabid animals or by providing exposed persons with prompt local treatment of wounds
    combined with the appropriate administration of human rabies immune globulin and vaccine. Exposure
    assessment should occur before postexposure rabies prophylaxis (PEP) is initiated and should include
    discussion between medical providers and public health officials. The rationale for recommending
    preexposure prophylaxis and details of both pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis administration can be found
    in the current recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) (9,10).
    These recommendations, along with information concerning the current local and regional epidemiology of
    animal rabies and the availability of human rabies biologics, are available from state health departments.
    5. DOMESTIC ANIMAL VACCINATION: Multiple vaccines are licensed for use in domestic animal
    species. Vaccines available include: inactivated or modified live virus vectored products; products for
    intramuscular and subcutaneous administration; products with durations of immunity from one to 4 years;
    and products with varying minimum age of vaccination. The recommended vaccination procedures and the
    licensed animal vaccines are specified in Parts II and III of this compendium, respectively. Local
    governments should initiate and maintain effective programs to ensure vaccination of all dogs, cats, and
    ferrets and to remove strays and unwanted animals. Such procedures in the United States have reduced
    laboratory confirmed cases of rabies in dogs from 6,949 in 1947 to 93 in 2009 (2). Because more rabies
    cases are reported annually involving cats (274 in 2009) than dogs, vaccination of cats should be required
    (2). Animal shelters and animal control authorities should establish policies to ensure that adopted animals
    are vaccinated against rabies.
    6. RABIES IN VACCINATED ANIMALS: Rabies is rare in vaccinated animals (11-13). If such an
    event is suspected, it should be reported to public health officials; the vaccine manufacturer; and USDA,
    Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Center for Veterinary Biologics (Internet:; telephone: 800-752-
    6255). The laboratory diagnosis should be confirmed and the virus variant characterized by the Centers for
    Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rabies reference laboratory. A thorough epidemiologic investigation
    including documentation of the animal’s vaccination history and a description of potential rabies exposures
    should be conducted.
    7. RABIES IN WILDLIFE: The control of rabies among wildlife reservoirs is difficult (14). Vaccination
    of free-ranging wildlife or selective population reduction is useful in some situations (15), but the success of
    such procedures depends on the circumstances surrounding each rabies outbreak (see Part I. C.). Because of
    the risk of rabies in wild animals (especially raccoons, skunks, coyotes, foxes, and bats), the American
    Veterinary Medical Association, American Public Health Association, Council of State and Territorial
    Epidemiologists, National Animal Control Association and the National Association of State Public Health
    Veterinarians strongly recommend the enactment and enforcement of state laws prohibiting their
    importation, distribution, translocation, and private ownership.
    8. RABIES SURVEILLANCE: Enhanced laboratory-based rabies surveillance and variant typing are
    essential components of rabies prevention and control programs. Accurate and timely information and
    reporting is necessary to: guide human PEP decisions; determine the management of potentially exposed
    animals; aid in emerging pathogen discovery; describe the epidemiology of the disease; and assess the need
    for and effectiveness of vaccination programs for domestic animals and wildlife. Every animal submitted for
    rabies testing should be reported to CDC to evaluate surveillance trends. Electronic laboratory reporting and
    notification of animal rabies surveillance data should be implemented (16). Optimal information on animals
    submitted for rabies testing should include species, point location, vaccination history, rabies virus variant
    (if rabid), and human or domestic animal exposures. Rabid animals with a history of importation within 60
    days into the United States are immediately notifiable by state health departments to CDC; all indigenous
    cases should follow standard notification protocols (17). Integration with standard public health reporting
    and notification systems should facilitate the transmission of the above data elements.
    a) The direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) test is the gold standard for rabies diagnosis. The DFA test
    should be performed in accordance with the established national standardized protocol
    ( by a qualified laboratory that has
    been designated by the local or state health department (18,19). Animals submitted for rabies testing
    should be euthanized (20,21) in such a way as to maintain the integrity of the brain so that the laboratory
    can recognize the anatomical parts. Except in the case of very small animals, such as bats, only the head
    or brain (including brain stem) should be submitted to the laboratory. To facilitate prompt laboratory
    testing, submitted specimens should be stored and shipped under refrigeration without delay. The need
    to thaw frozen specimens will delay testing. Chemical fixation of tissues should be avoided to prevent
    significant testing delays and because it might preclude reliable testing. Questions about testing of fixed
    tissues should be directed to the local rabies laboratory or public health department.
    b) Rabies testing should be available on an emergency basis to expedite exposure management
    decisions (18). When confirmatory testing is needed by state health departments (e.g., inconclusive
    results, unusual species, mass exposures), the CDC rabies laboratory can provide results within 24 hours
    of submission (22).
    c) A direct rapid immunohistochemical test (DRIT) is being used by trained field personnel in
    surveillance programs for specimens not involved in human or domestic animal exposures (23-26). All
    positive DRIT results need to be confirmed by DFA testing at a qualified laboratory.
    d) Currently, there are no USDA licensed rapid test kits commercially available for rabies diagnosis.
    Unlicensed tests should not be used due to several concerns: the sensitivity/specificity are not known;
    the tests have not been validated against current standard methods; the excretion of virus in the saliva is
    intermittent and the amount varies over time; any test result would need to be confirmed by more
    reliable methods such as DFA testing on brain tissue; and the interpretation of results may place exposed
    animals and persons at risk.
    10. RABIES SEROLOGY: Some jurisdictions require evidence of vaccination and rabies virus antibodies
    for animal importation purposes. Rabies virus antibody titers are indicative of a response to vaccine or
    infection. Titers do not directly correlate with protection because other immunologic factors also play a role
    in preventing rabies, and our abilities to measure and interpret those other factors are not well-developed.
    Therefore, evidence of circulating rabies virus antibodies in animals should not be used as a substitute for
    current vaccination in managing rabies exposures or determining the need for booster vaccinations (27-30).
    11. RABIES RESEARCH: Information derived from well-designed studies is essential for the
    development of science-based recommendations. Data are needed in several areas including: viral shedding
    periods for domestic livestock and lagomorphs; potential shedding of virus in milk; earliest age at which
    rabies vaccination is effective and protective effect of maternal antibody; duration of immunity;
    postexposure prophylaxis protocols for domestic animals; models for treatment of clinical rabies; extra label
    vaccine use in domestic animals and wildlife rabies reservoirs; host-pathogen adaptations and dynamics;
    and the ecology of wildlife rabies reservoir species, especially in relation to the use of oral rabies vaccines.
    1. PREEXPOSURE VACCINATION AND MANAGEMENT: Parenteral animal rabies vaccines
    should be administered only by or under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian on premises.
    Rabies vaccinations may also be administered under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian to animals
    held in animal control shelters before release. The veterinarian signing a rabies vaccination certificate must
    ensure that the person administering vaccine is identified on the certificate and is appropriately trained in
    vaccine storage, handling, administration, and in the management of adverse events. This practice assures
    that a qualified and responsible person can be held accountable for properly vaccinating the animal. Within
    28 days after initial vaccination, a peak rabies virus antibody titer is reached, and the animal can be
    considered immunized (29,31-33). An animal is currently vaccinated and is considered immunized if the
    initial vaccination was administered at least 28 days previously or booster vaccinations have been
    administered in accordance with this compendium.
    Regardless of the age of the animal at initial vaccination, a booster vaccination should be administered 1
    year later (see Parts II and III for vaccines and procedures). No laboratory or epidemiologic data exist to
    support the annual or biennial administration of 3- or 4-year vaccines after the initial series. Because a rapid
    anamnestic response is expected, an animal is considered currently vaccinated immediately after a booster
    vaccination (34).
    All dogs, cats, and ferrets should be vaccinated against rabies and revaccinated in accordance with
    Part III of this compendium. If a previously vaccinated animal is overdue for a booster, it should
    be revaccinated. Immediately after the booster, the animal is considered currently vaccinated and
    should be placed on a booster schedule, depending on the labeled duration of the vaccine used.
    All horses should be vaccinated against rabies (35). Livestock, including species for which
    licensed vaccines are not available, that have frequent contact with humans (e.g., in petting zoos,
    fairs, and other public exhibitions) should be vaccinated against rabies (36,37). Consideration
    should also be given to vaccinating livestock that are particularly valuable.
    c) CAPTIVE WILD ANIMALS AND HYBRIDS (the offspring of wild animals crossbred to
    domestic animals).
    (1) Wild animals or hybrids should not be kept as pets (38-40). No parenteral rabies vaccines are
    licensed for use in wild animals or hybrids (41).
    (2) Animals that are maintained in exhibits and in zoological parks and are not completely
    excluded from all contact with rabies vectors can become infected. Moreover, wild animals might
    be incubating rabies when initially captured; therefore, wild-caught animals susceptible to rabies
    should be quarantined for a minimum of 6 months. Employees who work with animals at such
    facilities should receive preexposure rabies vaccination. The use of pre- or postexposure rabies
    vaccinations for handlers who work with animals at such facilities might reduce the need for
    euthanasia of captive animals that expose handlers. Carnivores and bats should be housed in a
    manner that precludes direct contact with the public (36,37).
    2. STRAY ANIMALS: Stray dogs, cats, and ferrets should be removed from the community. Local health
    departments and animal control officials can enforce the removal of strays more effectively if owned
    animals are required to have identification and are confined or kept on leash. Strays should be impounded
    for at least 3 business days to determine if human exposure has occurred and to give owners sufficient time
    to reclaim animals.
    a) INTERNATIONAL. CDC regulates the importation of dogs and cats into the United States (5).
    Importers of dogs must comply with rabies vaccination requirements (42 CFR, Part 71.51[c]
    []) and complete CDC form 75.37
    ( These regulations require dogs imported
    from rabies endemic countries to be vaccinated for rabies and confined for varying timeframes
    depending on age, prior vaccination status, and country of origin. The appropriate health official of
    the state of destination should be notified within 72 hours of the arrival of any imported dog required
    to be placed in confinement under these regulations. Failure of the owner to comply with these
    confinement requirements should be promptly reported to the Division of Global Migration and
    Quarantine, CDC (telephone: 404-639-4528 or 404-639-4537).
    Federal regulations alone are insufficient to prevent the introduction of rabid animals into the United
    States (3,4,42,43). All imported dogs and cats are subject to state and local laws governing rabies and
    should be currently vaccinated against rabies in accordance with this compendium. Failure of the
    owner to comply with state or local requirements should be referred to the appropriate state or local
    b) AREAS WITH DOG-TO-DOG RABIES TRANSMISSION. Canine rabies virus variants have
    been eliminated in the United States (2,6). Rabid dogs have been introduced into the continental
    United States from areas with dog-to-dog rabies transmission (3,4,42,43). The movement of dogs for
    the purposes of adoption or sale from areas with dog-dog rabies transmission increases the risk of
    introducing canine-transmitted rabies to areas where it does not currently exist and should be
    c) INTERSTATE. Before interstate (including commonwealths and territories) movement, dogs, cats,
    ferrets, and horses should be currently vaccinated against rabies in accordance with this compendium’s
    recommendations (see Part I. B.1.). Animals in transit should be accompanied by a currently valid
    NASPHV Form 51, Rabies Vaccination Certificate
    ( When an interstate health certificate or
    certificate of veterinary inspection is required, it should contain the same rabies vaccination
    information as Form 51.
    4. ADJUNCT PROCEDURES: Methods or procedures that enhance rabies control include the following
    a) IDENTIFICATION. Dogs, cats, and ferrets should be identified (e.g., metal or plastic tags or
    microchips) to allow for verification of rabies vaccination status.
    b) LICENSURE. Registration or licensure of all dogs, cats, and ferrets is an integral component of an
    effective rabies control program. A fee is frequently charged for such licensure, and revenues collected
    are used to maintain rabies or animal control activities. Evidence of current vaccination should be an
    essential prerequisite to licensure.
    c) CANVASSING. House-to-house canvassing by animal control officials facilitates enforcement of
    vaccination and licensure requirements.
    d) CITATIONS. Citations are legal summonses issued to owners for violations, including the failure
    to vaccinate or license their animals. The authority for officers to issue citations should be an integral
    part of each animal control program.
    e) ANIMAL CONTROL. All local jurisdictions should incorporate stray animal control, leash laws,
    animal bite prevention, and training of personnel in their programs.
    f) PUBLIC EDUCATION. All local jurisdictions should incorporate education covering responsible
    pet ownership, bite prevention, and appropriate veterinary care in their programs.
    5. POSTEXPOSURE MANAGEMENT: This section refers to any animal exposed (see Part I.A.2.) to a
    confirmed or suspected rabid animal. Wild mammalian carnivores or bats that are not available or suitable
    for testing should be regarded as rabid animals.
    a) DOGS, CATS AND FERRETS. Any illness in an exposed animal should be reported immediately
    to the local health department. If signs suggestive of rabies develop (e.g., paralysis, seizures, etc.), the
    animal should be euthanized and the head shipped for testing as described in Part I.A.9.
    (1) Dogs, cats, and ferrets that have never been vaccinated and are exposed to a rabid animal
    should be euthanized immediately. If the owner is unwilling to have this done, the animal should
    be placed in strict isolation for 6 months. Isolation in this context refers to confinement in an
    enclosure that precludes direct contact with people and other animals. Rabies vaccine should be
    administered upon entry into isolation or up to 28 days before release to comply with preexposure
    vaccination recommendations (see Part I.B.1.a.). There are currently no USDA licensed biologics
    for postexposure prophylaxis of previously unvaccinated domestic animals, and there is evidence
    that the use of vaccine alone will not reliably prevent the disease in these animals (44).
    (2) Animals overdue for a booster vaccination should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis based
    upon severity of exposure, time elapsed since last vaccination, number of previous vaccinations,
    current health status, and local rabies epidemiology to determine need for euthanasia or immediate
    revaccination and observation/isolation.
    (3) Dogs, cats, and ferrets that are currently vaccinated should be revaccinated immediately, kept
    under the owner’s control, and observed for 45 days. The rationale for an observation period is
    based in part on the potential for: overwhelming viral challenge, incomplete vaccine efficacy,
    improper vaccine administration, variable host immunocompetence, and immune-mediated fatality
    (i.e., early death phenomenon) (12,45-47).
    b) LIVESTOCK. All species of livestock are susceptible to rabies; cattle and horses are the most
    frequently reported infected species (2). Any illness in an exposed animal should be reported
    immediately to the local health and agriculture officials. If signs suggestive of rabies develop, the
    animal should be euthanized and the head shipped for testing as described in Part I.A.9.
    (1) Unvaccinated livestock should be euthanized immediately. If the animal is not euthanized, it
    should be observed and confined on a case-by-case basis for 6 months.
    (2) Livestock exposed to a rabid animal and currently vaccinated with a vaccine approved by
    USDA for that species should be revaccinated immediately and observed for 45 days.
    (3) Multiple rabid animals in a herd or herbivore-to-herbivore transmission are uncommon (48);
    therefore, restricting the rest of the herd if a single animal has been exposed to or infected by
    rabies is usually not necessary.
    (4) Handling and consumption of tissues from exposed animals might carry a risk for rabies
    transmission. Risk factors depend in part on the site(s) of exposure, amount of virus present,
    severity of wounds, and whether sufficient contaminated tissue has been excised. If an exposed
    animal is to be custom or home-slaughtered for consumption, it should be done immediately after
    exposure, and all tissues should be cooked thoroughly. Persons handling exposed animals,
    carcasses, and tissues should use barrier precautions (49,50). Historically, federal guidelines for
    meat inspectors required that any animal known to have been exposed to rabies within 8 months be
    rejected for slaughter (51). USDA Food and Inspection Service (FSIS) and state meat inspectors
    should be notified if such exposures occur in food animals before slaughter.
    Rabies virus is widely distributed in tissues of rabid animals (52-54). Tissues and products from a
    rabid animal should not be used for human or animal consumption (55,56) or transplantation (57).
    Pasteurization and cooking will inactivate rabies virus (58); therefore, inadvertently drinking
    pasteurized milk or eating thoroughly cooked animal products does not constitute a rabies
    c) OTHER ANIMALS. Other mammals exposed to a rabid animal should be euthanized
    immediately. Animals maintained in USDA-licensed research facilities or accredited zoological parks
    should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in consultation with public health authorities.
    Management options may include isolation, observation, or administration of rabies biologics.
    a) Dogs, Cats, and Ferrets. Rabies virus is excreted in the saliva of infected dogs, cats, and ferrets
    during illness and/or for only a few days before illness or death (59-61). Regardless of rabies
    vaccination status, a healthy dog, cat, or ferret that exposes a person should be confined and observed
    daily for 10 days from the time of the exposure (62); administration of rabies vaccine to the animal is
    not recommended during the observation period to avoid confusing signs of rabies with rare adverse
    reactions (13). Any illness in the animal should be reported immediately to the local health
    department. Such animals should be evaluated by a veterinarian at the first sign of illness during
    confinement. If signs suggestive of rabies develop, the animal should be euthanized and the head
    submitted for testing as described in Part I.A.9. Any stray or unwanted dog, cat, or ferret that exposes
    a person may be euthanized immediately and the head submitted for rabies examination.
    b) Other Animals. Other animals that might have exposed a person to rabies should be reported
    immediately to the local health department. Management of animals other than dogs, cats, and ferrets
    depends on the species, the circumstances of the exposure, the epidemiology of rabies in the area, the
    exposing animal’s history, current health status, and the animal’s potential for exposure to rabies. The
    shedding period for rabies virus is undetermined for most species. Previous vaccination of these
    animals might not preclude the necessity for euthanasia and testing.
    7. OUTBREAK PREVENTION AND CONTROL. The emergence of new rabies virus variants or the
    introduction of non-indigenous viruses poses a significant risk to humans, domestic animals, and wildlife
    (63-70). A rapid and comprehensive response includes the following measures (71):
    a) Characterize the virus at the national reference laboratory.
    b) Identify and control the source of the introduction.
    c) Enhance laboratory-based surveillance in wild and domestic animals.
    d) Increase animal rabies vaccination rates.
    e) Restrict the movement of animals.
    f) Evaluate the need for vector population reduction.
    g) Coordinate a multiagency response.
    h) Provide public and professional outreach and education.
    8. DISASTER RESPONSE: Animals might be displaced during and after man-made or natural disasters
    and require emergency sheltering ( and (72). Animal rabies vaccination and exposure histories often are
    not available for displaced animals. Disaster response creates situations where animal caretakers might lack
    appropriate training and preexposure vaccination. In such situations, it is critical to implement and
    coordinate rabies prevention and control measures to reduce the risk of rabies transmission and the need for
    human PEP. Such measures include actions to:
    a) Coordinate relief efforts of individuals and organizations with the local emergency operations
    center before deployment.
    b) Examine each animal at a triage site for possible bite injuries or signs of rabies.
    c) Isolate animals exhibiting signs of rabies, pending evaluation by a veterinarian.
    d) Ensure that all animals have a unique identifier.
    e) Administer a rabies vaccination to all dogs, cats and ferrets unless reliable proof of vaccination
    f) Adopt minimum standards for animal caretakers as feasible, including personal protective
    equipment, preexposure rabies vaccination, and appropriate training in animal handling (73).
    g) Maintain documentation of animal disposition and location (e.g., returned to owner, died or
    euthanized, adopted, relocated to another shelter, and address of new location).
    h) Provide facilities to confine and observe animals involved in exposures (see Part I.B.6.).
    i) Report human exposures to appropriate public health authorities (see Part I.A.3.).
    The public should be warned not to handle or feed wild mammals. Wild mammals and hybrids that expose
    persons, pets, or livestock should be considered for euthanasia and rabies diagnosis. A person exposed by
    any wild mammal should immediately report the incident to a healthcare provider who, in consultation with
    public health authorities, can evaluate the need for PEP (9,10).
    Translocation of infected wildlife has contributed to the spread of rabies (63-68,74); therefore, the
    translocation of known terrestrial rabies reservoir species should be prohibited. Whereas state regulated
    wildlife rehabilitators and nuisance wildlife control operators may play a role in a comprehensive rabies
    control program, minimum standards for persons who handle wild mammals should include rabies
    vaccination, appropriate training, and continuing education.
    1. CARNIVORES: The use of oral rabies vaccines (ORV) for the mass vaccination of free-ranging
    wildlife should be considered in selected situations, with the approval of the appropriate state agencies
    (14,75). There have been documented successes using ORV to control rabies in wildlife in North America
    (75-78). The currently licensed vaccinia-vectored ORV is labeled for use in raccoons and coyotes. The
    distribution of ORV should be based on scientific assessments of the target species and followed by timely
    and appropriate analysis of surveillance data; such results should be provided to all stakeholders. In
    addition, parenteral vaccination (trap-vaccinate-release) of wildlife rabies reservoirs may be integrated into
    coordinated ORV programs to enhance their effectiveness. Continuous and persistent programs for trapping
    or poisoning wildlife are not effective in reducing wildlife rabies reservoirs on a statewide basis. However,
    limited population control in high-contact areas (e.g., picnic grounds, camps, and suburban areas) might be
    indicated for the removal of selected high-risk species of wildlife. State agriculture, public health, and
    wildlife agencies should be consulted for planning, coordination, and evaluation of vaccination or
    population reduction programs (14).
    2. BATS: From the 1950’s to date, indigenous rabid bats have been reported from every state except
    Hawaii and have caused rabies in at least 43 humans in the United States (79-92). Bats should be excluded
    appropriately from houses, public buildings, and adjacent structures to prevent direct association with
    humans (93,94). Such structures should then be made bat-proof by sealing entrances used by bats.
    Controlling rabies in bats through programs designed to reduce bat populations is neither feasible nor
    Part II. Recommendations for Parenteral Rabies Vaccination Procedures
    A. VACCINE ADMINISTRATION: All animal rabies vaccines should be restricted to use by or under the
    direct supervision of a veterinarian (95), except as recommended in Part I.B.1.
    B. VACCINE SELECTION: Part III lists all vaccines licensed by USDA and marketed in the United States at
    the time of publication. New vaccine approvals or changes in label specifications made subsequent to
    publication should be considered as part of this list. Any of the listed vaccines can be used for revaccination,
    even if the product is not the same as previously administered. Vaccines used in state and local rabies control
    programs should have at least a 3-year duration of immunity. This constitutes the most effective method of
    increasing the proportion of immunized dogs and cats in any population (96). No laboratory or epidemiologic
    data exist to support the annual or biennial administration of 3- or 4-year vaccines following the initial series.
    C. ADVERSE EVENTS: Currently, no epidemiologic association exists between a particular licensed vaccine
    product and adverse events (13,97-98). Although rare, adverse events including vomiting, injection site
    swelling, lethargy, hypersensitivity, and rabies in a previously vaccinated animal have been reported. Adverse
    events should be reported to the vaccine manufacturer and to USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection
    Service, Center for Veterinary Biologics (Internet:; telephone: 800-752-6255). No
    contraindication to rabies vaccination exists. Animals with a previous history of anaphylaxis can be medically
    managed and observed after vaccination (46).
    D. WILDLIFE AND HYBRID ANIMAL VACCINATION: The safety and efficacy of parenteral rabies
    vaccination of wildlife and hybrids have not been established, and no rabies vaccines are licensed for these
    animals. Zoos or research institutions may establish vaccination programs to attempt to protect valuable
    animals, but these should not replace appropriate public health activities that protect humans (see Part
    E. ACCIDENTAL HUMAN EXPOSURE TO VACCINE: Human exposure to parenteral animal rabies
    vaccines listed in Part III does not constitute a risk for rabies virus infection. Human exposure to vacciniavectored
    oral rabies vaccines should be reported to state health officials (100,101).
    F. RABIES CERTIFICATE: All agencies and veterinarians should use NASPHV Form 51 (revised 2007),
    Rabies Vaccination Certificate, or an equivalent. This form can be obtained from vaccine manufacturers,
    NASPHV (, or CDC
    ( The form must be completed in full and signed by the
    administering or supervising veterinarian. Computer generated forms containing the same information are also

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    7. Available at:

  • Debbie Baker

    Well I have read some of the above and you never know what to believe until it happens to your dog. My 11 year old Yorkie – who was very healthy – had his shots last Sept and they gave him all of them at the same time. Then 3 weeks later he started having problems – he was back to the vet 5 times in three months and never got better. I took him to a speciality vet and they determined he had vasculities of his ears, hocks and pads, fluid in his lungs, an eye ulcer and now 5 months and $6,500 later we are still treating the vasculitis and eye issue. The vasculitis goes into remission and then starts all over again – he has had so many pills and used to weigh 8.5 and now weighs 6.5 and cannot gain weight. His one hock bothers him so much he can hardly put down the paw to walk. So there is never an ALWAYS do this and NEVER do that – just do your due diligence and have the blood test to make sure your dogs need the vaccinations when they are over two years old or so. They have determined since 2011 that the vaccinations can last anywhere from 3-7 years depending on different criteria. I’m no scientist just a person who loves my dog and I would not wish this on anyone else or their dog. You just feel like it will never go away and they will never get back to the way they were before the shot. Just putting information out there for you to decide – not saying who is right or wrong.

    • seamus

      Well I do not know what to believe, pro or con. But here is my experience I had a 13 year old Yorkie. He was diabetic and had cushings I have been treating him for 3 years with insulin two shots a day and with anipril for the cushings and he had done quite well it is hard to regulate the blood sugar level due to the cushings often making them somewhat insulin resistant.
      Anyway he had a reaction to the rabies vaccine and had to have a tumor removed since then my vet gave him only the rabies without the preservative and in multiple locations and we have had no real problems. I moved and used a new vet and relayed this info to the vet who for the most part ignored my wifes concerns and gave him a shot in the left hip and said it had to be givin all in one location.
      When we got home later from the vet our Yorkie would not eat and was vomiting up his water, he would have bouts of this from time to time with gastric distress but always within a day or so he was better so we did not think it was unusual at first. This happend over a weekend by sunday night he could not walk and not having thousands of dollars for emergency treatment and seeing on line that most dogs seemed to be better in a couple of days I thought that I would take him to the vet in the morning.
      Well he died that night, and the vet accused us of everything under the sun and was very defensive, we still dont have a dog.
      So I guess you will hear all kinds of things but I know my dog died after a rabies shot and he did not appear to be ill other than his usual issues, he was gone in two days and the vet of course says we did it, we must have not givin him his insulin some how we were mistreating him. Well I had him for going on 14 yrs and had spent thousands on his care my son was suprized that I did not bath him in Perrie water so I will say to you all believe what you want I will believe what I know.

  • seamus

    As a follow up to my comments, I have talked to a number of other vets about what happened to my Yorkie and all have said that it was possibly the leptospirosis shot in combination that killed my little guy.
    My old vet said that he would have never givin him the leptospirosis, that he only gives it to large country dogs and would never have given it to a small emmune compromised house dog like mine. So like many have said we all need to know more and be vigilant in out pets care in my case we moved and went to a new vet and trusted in her now i see that was wrong.
    Our vets have to be called on things, and we need to know more unfortunately we often learn at the expense of others and our pet’s.
    I will tell you all a story about my wee Macgregor, my wife was out walking with him and was confronted by a very aggressive rottweiller about 120 lbs with out hesitation Macgregor jumped between the rottweiller and my wife all 10 lbs of him the message was very clear not my momma not while iam here. The courage grace and love our animals often display humbles me. Iam a Viet Nam combat Vet and not to prone to taking much guff but i realize that i fall short when compared to the way my little dog lived his life.

  • anonymous

    we adopted a dog preowned for one year. After we had the dog one year ourselves we took it for it’s due rabies shot. Two days after it started snarling at us like it wanted to attack us. I was certain it had to do with the rabies shot.

  • anonymous

    Every dog i’ve owned acts a bit ill right after the rabies shot. Lasts a few days.

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