Subject: CALIFORNIA Rabies Bill AB 272 ACTION ALERT
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2013 22:32:14 +0000
What You Can Do to Help:
Please help our friends in Michigan
(Please copy & paste links & e-mail addresses if they do not work by clicking on them.)
MICHIGAN Rabies Bill SB 118 ACTION ALERT: Senator Rick Jones has introduced legislation which would lower to 3 months the age at which puppies in large-scale breeding facilities must have rabies vaccinations http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2013-2014/billintroduced/Senate/htm/2013-SIB-0118.htm. The Rabies Challenge Fund is concerned about the health impact this would have on those puppies if this bill passes with this change in it and that it will lead to a law change requiring all Michigan puppies to be vaccinated against rabies at the age of 3 months instead of at 4 months as the dog laws currently require. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Agriculture Committee for consideration.
What You Can Do to Help:
Contact the bill sponsors and members of the Senate Agriculture Committee and request that they delete the language in this bill which lowers the age at which puppies in large-scale breeding facilities to 3 months.
Bill Sponsors Contact Information:
Senate Agriculture Committee Members Contact Information:
February 15, 2013
Senator Rick Jones Senator Joe Hune, Chair Agriculture Committee
State Capitol State Capitol
Fax: (517) 373-5849 Fax: (517) 373-2764
RE: SB 118 to Amend Dog Law 1919 PA 339 MCL 287.261-287.290
Greetings Senators Jones and Hune:
Senate Bill SB 118, which would lower the age at which puppies in large-scale breeding facilities must be vaccinated against rabies from 4 months to 3 months, will result in an increase the number of puppies who will fail to elicit a proper immune response to rabies as well as increase the likelihood of adverse reactions to the vaccine. This portion of the bill appears to address a non-existent problem in the canine community, as the data reported in the government summary maps of all rabies positive cases in Michigan illustrate: bats and skunks pose the major public health threat, not puppies under the age of 4 months.
Michigan’s summary maps indicate that over the 34 years from 1978 through 2012 there were 14 rabid dogs (no mention of puppies under 4 months of age), 16 rabid horses, 27 rabid cats, 128 rabid skunks, and 1,279 rabid bats. These data evidence the fact that this segment of current law requiring puppies to be vaccinated against rabies by 4 months of age is effectively controlling rabies in Michigan’s canine community amongst large-scale and small-scale breeders and does not need to be changed.
Lowering the age at which puppies, whether in litters of large-scale or small-scale breeders, are required to have their first rabies shot from 4 months to 3 months would be counterproductive. At the age of 3 months (12 weeks), puppies are finishing up their initial series of other vaccinations (distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus). Mandating that these young animals be vaccinated against rabies at the same time will not only increase the likelihood of adverse reactions (some of which can be lethal), but also the probability that the vaccine components will interfere with each other and neutralize or negate the appropriate immunological response sought.
Augmenting the probability that rabies vaccination at 3 months may not be effective is the continued presence of maternal antibodies. According to the 2006 American Animal Hospital Association’s Canine Vaccine Guidelines, the most common reason for vaccination failure is “the puppy has a sufficient amount of passively acquired maternal antibody (PAMA) to block the vaccine……”  They elaborate by reporting that at the ages of 14 to 16 weeks of age, “PAMA should be at a level that will not block active immunization in most puppies (>95%) when a reliable product is used.” After the age of 16 weeks (4 months), the maternal antibodies are reduced to a level at which they should not reduce the rabies vaccine’s effectiveness.
Vaccinating puppies at too young an age can be ineffective. Keeping in mind that rabies vaccines are “killed” vaccines, the 2003 American Animal Hospital Association’s (AAHA) Canine Vaccine Guidelines reports on Page 17 that: “… when puppies are first vaccinated at 16 weeks (or more) of age (an age when passively acquired antibodies generally don’t cause interference), … two doses of a killed vaccine, are adequate to stimulate an immune response.” 
As it currently stands, the law requiring all puppies to be vaccinated at 4 months of age is and has been effective at controlling rabies in Michigan’s canine population. There is no epidemiological or scientific rationale for changing this portion of 1919 PA 339 MCL 287.261-287.290 and needlessly exposing any puppies to the potentially harmful, sometimes fatal, adverse side affects of the rabies vaccine prior to the age of 4 months.
On behalf of The Rabies Challenge Fund and the concerned Michigan dog owners who have requested our assistance, I strongly urge you to remove the section of this bill which would lower the required age of rabies vaccination for puppies in large-scale breeding facilities to 3 months.
Kris L. Christine
THE RABIES CHALLENGE FUND
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Veterinarian’s letter Re bill to require annual rabies shots
The following letter from Dr. George McKay of Watsonville, very clearly explains the wrong-headedness fo the proposal to require annual rabies shots.
I was recently made aware of 2 bills that are coming up for consideration, AB2689 and AB2000. I am a practicing Veterinarian here in California, and I would like to voice my wholehearted opposition to AB2689 in its entirety.
I am including a link to the CDC surveillance for Rabieshttp://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/pdf/10.2460/javma.235.6.676?cookieSet=1 for 2008 which is the most recent data I could locate.
The CDC concluded in its study that there were 2 cases of rabies in humans in 2008, and they were both from exposure to bats, not domestic animals. Of the 6841 reported cases of rabies in animals, only 7% (479) were in domestic animals. In California, of the 179 cases of rabies in animals, only 1 was a domestic animal, a cat.
In the years 2000-2008, 27 people died from exposure to Rabies virus. Only 6 of those humans have died in the US and Puerto Rico from exposure to Dog Rabies and NONE of these people were bitten by a dog in the US (one was bitten in Puerto Rico, one in Haiti, two in the Philippines, one in El Salvador, one in Ghana).
In the US, the incidence of Rabies in domestic animals has steadily declined since 1958, particularly in dogs.
As to decreasing the age at which a dog is first vaccinated, we must examine the science behind it. Every pregnant dog who is current on vaccination (which we will assume is every dog being bred, since it is legally required) will provide a passive immunity to her pups. This is due to maternal antibodies against rabies passing through the placenta, in the colostrum (first milk) and in smaller amounts in the motherâ€™s milk. It was originally postulated that the maternal antibodies were gone at 6 weeks of age because our tests could not measure them after this time. This is what we based our vaccine protocols on. If you look at the springerlink article (http://www.springerlink.com/content/q7254227771u67w7/ ), you can see that the pups did not respond until 10 weeks of age. Therefore, we must conclude that on average, a puppy with a vaccinated mom can not respond to Rabies Vaccine until 10 weeks of age. If one looks at statistics and draws
a standard bell curve around 10 weeks, one standard deviation from the mean incorporates 84 % of the puppies, but 2 standard deviations include 97.7 % of the puppies, and by 3 standard deviations, we will cover 99.9% of puppies. That is to say, by vaccinating at or after 16 weeks we will cover 99.9% of puppies, and by vaccinating at 12 weeks of age, we potentially leave a larger number of puppies unvaccinated for all intents and purposes, because they were unable to respond to the vaccine. This is self-defeating.
The conclusions that I draw from this information are as follows:
1) The incidence of Rabies in dogs has been declining year over year using our current vaccination strategy.
2) The danger of zoonotic exposure to humans by dogs in the US has been 0 in the past 10 years using the current vaccination strategy.
3) The most likely exposure to Rabies by humans in the US is by wildlife, particularly by bats, raccoons and skunks, which is not addressed in the current bill.
4)The mandating of vaccine for younger dogs will increase the number of vaccine failures due to latent maternal immunity.
This does not make sense.
Further, I want to pledge my full support to AB2000.
As a practicing Veterinarian, I have experienced firsthand the heartbreak of a pet who died as a result of a Vaccine reaction. I have seen numerous instances of non-lethal vaccine reactions that could have turned fatal if not for timely intervention on our part.
The ability to provide an exemption for a life threatening reaction is only common sense, and it is criminal that I can not legally do so at this time. For more information on Rabies Vaccine duration, follow the link tohttp://www.rabieschallengefund.org/
George McKay, DVM CA 12547
Mt. Madonna Vet
1961 Main St #232
Watsonville, CA 95076