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Woman: Rabies Shot Killed My Poodle

May 28th, 2008, 10:26 AM
so sad... :sad:

Woman: Rabies Shot Killed My Poodle (
Owner Says Alternate Test Should Be Used

POSTED: 6:36 am EDT May 28, 2008
UPDATED: 7:10 am EDT May 28, 2008

BOSTON -- A local woman is raising questions about the safety of the rabies vaccine after her dog died following a routine shot.

A Dracut, Mass., woman is calling for changes to state vaccination laws after her pet died just hours after having the shot.

Massachusetts state law requires that dogs be vaccinated against rabies every three years as a way to protect the public.

But after the death of her 12-year old prize standard poodle Louie, professional pet groomer Joanne Camilli said there is an alternative.

"When I brought him home, he wasn't even home 40 minutes and he died. So, it wasn't even 12 hours," Camilli said. She said she believes the shot, which is designed to protect the public, could be deadly to dogs.

"I know it's the rabies shot that did it," she said.

Camilli claimed her veterinarian confirmed her suspicion, but she declined to give his name.

Another veterinarian at the busy Countryside Animal Hospital, which has 20,000 clients, said the death of a dog following a rabies shot is a one-in-a-million occurrence.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. In fact, all of our eight veterinarians here, we've never seen a rabies-associated death in 25 years," Dr. Tiffany Rule said.

Camilli, however, said a simple exam called a Titer test would be able to tell if a dog needs the rabies shot or not.

"I want Titer testing accepted. That's what I want. I want the option of whether I want to give my dog a shot or have Titer testing. That's all I want," Camilli said.

But most vets say it's not that simple. Rabies kills humans and the rewards of vaccination outweigh the risks.

"It would be wonderful to be able to offer a Titer to see if an animal is in fact immune to the rabies virus, however at this time there is not enough information for Titer testing to be an accurate determinant of immunity to the virus," Rule said.

Vets agree more research needs to be done to see if dogs are over-vaccinated against rabies.

For now, they say, it's better to be safe than sorry.

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May 28th, 2008, 10:32 AM
OMG that's horrible and scary at the same time. I often. wonder if some of those shots are necessary. The only cat I have outside is Czarina, but the others are indoors. I've always wondered if rabies shots were necessary for indoor animals.

May 28th, 2008, 11:42 AM
*shrugs* bats get inside. a cat eats an infected bat... or a mouse or a rat... i think the risk is too great. how many more pets would ahve to be euthanized because of possible contact with rabies?!


May 28th, 2008, 12:33 PM
I've always had my indoor only cats vaccinated for rabies. Currently, our laws don't require cats be registered like dogs, therefore it's not really required, but highly recommended. What if the cat got out? what if the cat came into contact w/ a wild animal? I've always lived in rural areas, so it's always been a possibility, which is why my pets have been vaccinated. It's just shocking to me, that an animal CAN die from a rabies vac.

May 28th, 2008, 12:45 PM
True, you never can tell. It makes you wonder if perhaps that shot itself was tainted in some way.

May 28th, 2008, 12:52 PM
The average lifespan of a standard poodle is just about 12 years. I find it very hard to believe that this dog died after having a shot that it had had no previous reaction to. I also have to be suspicious of someone who claims that a vet verified that the vaccine killed her dog but she won't name the vet.

I am all for titers. I firmly believe that we over vaccinate our pets. But, unless your dog has a sensitivity to the rabies vaccine, it should have it according to the law. The danger from rabies is too great and the ease in which it is spread makes it a serious problem.

Dr Lee
May 30th, 2008, 01:42 PM
I agree with all you guys and can only echo what the other vets have said. Titers are great but at this point not a complete immunity picture. At the age of the pet, could other factors be present? Either way, death from a rabies vaccine is exceptionally rare. I did see one in school; it was horrible and a bit chilling as the dog's eyes turned blue. The veterinarian told us that we should take a good look as likely we would never see this again in our careers due to it rarity.

Also one note: bats are a major source of rabies. Rats, mice and rabbits though are not. While experimentally, they can carry the virus, no documented cases have been identified outside the laboratory. The reasoning behind this is that they do not survive the bite wounds of a rabid animal. Bats are different in how they carry and transmit the disease. Other animals transmit it through bite wounds but bats can carry and transmit the virus in their urine. This is why spelunkers should always be current on rabies vaccinations (as well as veterinarians :) ):pawprint:

May 30th, 2008, 09:19 PM
I feel for you. My Bentley died on monday, may 26. His annual check up at the end of april was fine and he was prescribed meds for hotspots on his feet. 3wks later, he was dead of various organ failure. he too was 12. He was my little dog child. I am so sorry for you loss too.

Kris Christine
June 13th, 2008, 07:35 AM

Thank you for posting the link to that news story. How do you post links? I have links to the American Animal Hospital Association's Canine Vaccine Guidelines dog owners might be interested in.

Regarding the rabies vaccine and the potential for adverse side affects, including death, you might be interested in the information below.


The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association has published a report in its April 1, 2008 issue, Vol. 232, No. 7, entitled: Postmarketing Surveillance of Rabies Vaccines for Dogs to Evaluate Safety and Efficacy."

Despite the extreme under-reporting of vaccinal adverse reactions, this report states on the second page that between April 1, 2004 and March 31, 2007, the Center for Veterinary Biologics, "nearly 10,000 adverse event reports (all animal species) were received by manufacturers of rabies vaccines..........Approximately 65% of the manufacturer's reports involved dogs."

The report further states on the second page that: "Rabies vaccines are the most common group of biological products identified in adverse event reports received by the CVB," and they give the following description of the adverse reaction followed by the % of dogs affected: Vomiting-28.1%, Facial Swelling-26.3%, Injection Site Swelling or Lump-19.4%, Lethargy-12%, Urticaria-10.1%, Circulatory shock-8.3%, Injection site pain-7.4%, Pruritus-7.4%, Injection site alopecia or hair loss-6.9%, Death-5.5%, Lack of Consciousness-5.5, Diarrhea-4.6%, Hypersensitivity (not specified)-4.6%, Fever-4.1%, Anaphylaxis-2.8%, Ataxia-2.8%, Lameness-2.8%, General signs of pain-2.3%, Hyperactivity-2.3%, Injection site scab or crust-2.3%, Muscle tremor-2.3%, Tachycardia-2.3%, and Thrombocytopenia-2.3%.

Veterinarians are not required by law to report adverse reactions to vaccines, to which the World Small Animal Veterinary Association stated in their 2007 Vaccine Guidelines that there is: "gross under-reporting of vaccine-associated adverse events which impedes knowledge of the ongoing safety of these products," and in an article entitled, A New Approach to Reporting Medication and Device Adverse Effects and Product Problems, (JAMA - June 2, 1993. Vol.269, No.21. p.2785) Dr. David Kessler, former head of the Food & Drug Administration, reported that "only about 1% of serious events are reported to the FDA."

In light of the 10,000 adverse reactions to the rabies vaccine in the JAVMA report, 65% of which were in dogs, the estimated 1% reporting of "serious" events by the former head of the FDA means that the actual number of dogs that had adverse reactions to the vaccine would be more like 650,000, and 5.5% of that would translate into an estimated 3,575 dogs dying from an adverse reaction to the vaccine during that 3 year period.

Kris Christine
June 14th, 2008, 05:09 AM
Yesterday my posts with links were not accepted, but they are today -- I meant to include the links below to excellent information on canine vaccines.


Duration of Immunity to Canine Vaccines: What We Know and Don't Know, Dr. Ronald Schultz

What Everyone Needs to Know about Canine Vaccines, Dr. Ronald Schultz ne%20Vaccines.htm

World Small Animal Veterinary Association 2007 Vaccine Guidelines Scroll down to Vaccine Guidelines 2007 (PDF)

The 2003 American Animal Hospital Association's Canine Vaccine Guidelines are accessible online at .

The 2006 American Animal Hospital Association's Canine Vaccine Guidelines are downloadable in PDF format at .

Veterinarian, Dr. Robert Rogers,has an excellent presentation on veterinary vaccines at

October 1, 2002 DVM Newsletter article entitled, AVMA, AAHA to Release Vaccine Positions,

July 1, 2003 DVM Newsletter article entitled, What Do We Tell Our Clients?, Developing thorough plan to educate staff on changing vaccine protocols essential for maintaining solid relationships with clients and ensuring quality care

July 1, 2003, DVM Newsletter article, Developing Common Sense Strategies for Fiscal Responsibility: Using an interactive template to plan service protocol changes

Animal Wellness Magazine Article Vol. 8 Issue 6, How Often Does he REALLY Need A Rabies Shot Animal Wellness Magazine - devoted to natural health in animals (

The Rabies Challenge Animal Wise Radio Interview
Listen to Animal Wise ( 862573AC007EE99B&quot) (scroll down to The Rabies Challenge 12/9/07)

The Vaccine Challenge Animal Talk Naturally Online Radio Show The Vaccine Challenge - Show #91 (

US Declared Canine-Rabies Free -- CDC Announces at Inaugural World Rabies Day Symposium CDC Press Release - September 7, 2007 (

Rabies Prevention -- United States, 1991 Recommendations of the Immunization Practices Advisory Committee (ACIP), Center for Disease Control's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly March 22, 1991 / 40(RR03);1-19 "A fully vaccinated dog or cat is unlikely to become infected with rabies, although rare cases have been reported (48). In a nationwide study of rabies among dogs and cats in 1988, only one dog and two cats that were vaccinated contracted rabies (49). All three of these animals had received only single doses of vaccine; no documented vaccine failures occurred among dogs or cats that had received two vaccinations. "