Rabies and what you do about it is a rather large one, compared to say, whether you’re going to share your organic left overs with Charlie the dog.
Some of your choices carry a lot of weight, others less so.
“I’m buying organic carrots this week, they look so great, and I can afford them. C’mere, Charlie, let me grate some of these babies into your raw food.”
“I’m going to just vaccinate for rabies. It’s the law, after all, and I’m a law abiding citizen. Load up, Charlie, I just got a postcard saying you’re due, and I’m taking you to the vet.”
One of these choices affects him for the next 24-48 hours, and the other can have effects that last a lifetime.
Rabies and Nosodes and Immunity, Oh My!
A reader wrote this week asking about getting nosodes to aid in her drug free heartworm prevention program, and mentioned that she’d been giving rabies nosodes regularly.
How odd. Rabies nosodes? Why?
“I don’t want to vaccinate for rabbies. And here it is the law. I also am in motion to move out to the country where exposure may be higher. Fear I suppose, is the driving force. If you could I would welcome your thoughts on the rabbies issue and the nosode.”
As I emailed back and forth between appointments, I discovered that someone had sold her on this regime for her two dogs when she purchased nosodes for rabies from a homeopathic supplier:
Give a 30C monthly for a couple of months, then a 200C monthly for a couple more months, then a 1M (all ascending homeopathic potencies) a month later, and “Done. Immunity.”
“I was led to believe it is preventative and yields lifetime immunity.”
What You Know So Far: Vaccinations Are a Cautionary Tale
You’ve learned, here and elsewhere, that
- Vaccines are vastly over used in conventional veterinary practice.
- Vaccines can and regularly do cause illness in the vaccinated.
- Repeatedly vaccinating your animal flat out doesn’t work.
You want to do the best for your animal, you definitely don’t want to cause illness for God’s sake, and you want your animals protected against disease.
But is the use of rabies nosodes going to confer lifetime immunity to your dog or cat or horse?
What Nosodes Can and Can’t Do for You
Nosodes are homeopathic medicines made from disease discharges. They help protect against infectious disease. One of the greatest examples of this in recent history is in 2.3 million humans, in Cuba. Leptospirosis nosodes brought the incidence of this disease down dramatically after the hurricane of 2007, at a time when lepto epidemics are the rule.
We homeopathic vets use them in puppies to protect against parvo and distemper, and in kittens, where we protect against panleukopenia or feline distemper.
I usually tell my clients who opt for this method of protection over more vaccines (or any vaccines) that it’s a bit like sticking a finger in the dike. The nosode takes up residence in the “hole of susceptibility” that would allow parvo to get in.
My homeopathic vet colleagues and I use them fairly frequently, and don’t see “breaks” of these illnesses when they are used properly.
But lifetime immunity from nosodes?
Nosodes are only effective around the time of exposure. We’re really guessing about when that exposure may occur, so in my practice I give nosodes twice a week for distemper and on the opposite week, twice a week for parvo. My clients repeat these only until their pup reaches about nine months of age.
I add to this a healthy dose of immune support in the form of transfer factors and encourage getting out and getting exposed to the real world and its germs, so their little immune systems get a “work out” while being intelligently stimulated to respond appropriately.
I have to say, I’ve had no parvo or distemper in animals so treated, and to my knowledge, neither have my homeopathic vet friends.
Rabies: Further Complicated by Being a Human Health Risk
People get rabies from bites of rabid animals. It’s a potentially fatal disease in humans. It’s known that rabies lives in “wildlife reservoirs” like raccoons, skunk, fox, coyotes and bats. Depending on where you live, one or more wildlife species are there keeping the virus alive and transmitting it by biting a susceptible animal.
It’s also clear that vaccination of pets against rabies drops the incidence of human rabies. The rabies virus vaccine is so effective that, according to the immunologists who study it, the immunity from one vaccination, if given at four months of age or older, likely confers lifetime immunity.
That’s a lot of bang for the buck.
And we have laws in each state and province and country that promulgate repeated rabies vaccinations throughout a pet’s life.
That’s a lot of useless and potentially dangerous vaccine use.
Follow those laws at your own risk. I’ve written elsewhere on this site how to think about this. Please take some time to read this, as this is a hot topic and one you should be fully informed about. Get others’ opinions as well, though I doubt Dr. WhiteCoat will give you a straight answer.
There’s a lot of money to be made revaccinating in the name of the law, after all.
Remember the saying: caveat emptor. Buyer beware.
Dog Loses His Head, Bites Human
So, while I saw my reader above being admirably cautious about over vaccinating, I counseled that a zero rabies vaccination policy for her two dogs was not a wise decision.
If either dog were to bite someone, under any circumstance (having a grumpy day, getting mistakenly stepped on, keeping that grubby little child’s hands off of my bone!) the result is likely to be euthanasia and brain testing for rabies.
No amount of begging and explaining will make this decision go away. The authorities are slaves to this rule, and will want to know right away if this biting animal was biting because he was incubating rabies. If positive, that bitten person needs to get rabies prophylaxis right away to prevent death from rabies.
Brain examination is currently the only accepted method to determine this, though other methods have proven useful.
Human Keeps Her Head, Keeps Her Papers In Order
In most cases, I advise people to get one rabies vaccination for their pets, at or over the age of four months, when they are almost guaranteed to achieve lifetime immunity. If you want to test that immunity, wait a few weeks post-vaccine, and get a titer test.
This immediately puts your animal in the class of “vaccinates” instead of non-vaccinates, and even if a bite happens years later, and you can show this proof of rabies vaccination, the worst case scenario is quarantine and observation for ten days.
I wrote about my patient Buddy who had this happen recently here in Austin. His experience is what I expect in any vaccinated animal who bites a person.
I obviously can’t guarantee this outcome, but I think it’s highly likely that this is the worst case scenario, barring PAID (Petty Authority Insanity Disease) which can happen when ignorant people are given badges. If you travel through airports, you’ve witnessed this disease, I’m sure.
When Emotions Rule, Animals Lose
So, sound choices are in order for your animal to be and remain a vital animal. Food choices, pest control choices, vaccination choices, lifestyle choices. Emotions tend to get involved when rabies (and heartworm) are on your mind. Scary diseases, but preventable ones, and preventable not only by blindly following conventional recommendations.
You need to be on your game and use careful logic in the big decisions in your animals’ lives. Emotions tend to lead to knee jerk responses that are often not helpful in the long term. Choices are less agonizing when you are well informed, and when you have others around you who are on the same page.
And that’s why we’re here, over a 1100 of us and growing. Join us, won’t you?
Bonus Take Away
Here’s a useful answer for any vet, groomer, or boarding kennel, if you’re asked about your animal’s vaccination status:
“He’s current on all his shots.”
Even if you stopped getting vaccinations years ago, you are telling the truth with this statement. And you have brilliant immunologists on your side when you speak this truth.
Tell us in the comments what’s worked for you in navigating the maze of choices in keeping your animal vital while living amid laws that don’t take immunology or health into account.