World Rabies Day 2012 – Insights After a Near-Deadly Adverse Rabies Vaccine Reaction
Today is World Rabies Day, which is meant to “raise awareness about the impact of human and animal rabies, how easy it is to prevent it, and how to eliminate the main global sources.” Nine months into a life / death struggle following Lilly’s severe adverse rabies vaccine reaction, I look at things a bit differently.
People often ask if this experience has made me anti-vaccine. The short answer to that question is NO!
I do, however, believe that canine vaccine protocols need to be revisited and reformed to allow for longer intervals between vaccines. Visit The Rabies Challenge Fund, for more information. I also believe that states should allow for medical waivers when necessary for certain pets. For example, California recently passed a law allowing medical waivers for rabies vaccines.
If Lilly manages to survive until 2015, when the rabies vaccine that caused this long, expensive situation “expires,” Colorado does allow for a medical waiver.
As I’ve noted before, that’s all fine … assuming Lilly never bites anyone and assuming she is never exposed to rabid wildlife. NOT vaccinating a dog is still a big, big deal.
Though as we’ve learned from other cases of dogs with valid rabies vaccine status, sometimes, that isn’t “enough.” … if a pet is exposed to rabies.
I really do understand the risks of rabies in the world at large. I really do understand so-called “population medicine” that puts the protection of many above the risks of a few.
I fully admit that this health crisis for Lilly is a “first-world” problem.
And, yet, here I am … hoping against all odds that Lilly will really recover. It’s easy for dog people like us to focus ONLY on dog health when it comes to rabies, but this quote from a veterinarian in Virginia offers a different perspective:
Yes, we want to protect our pets from rabies, but the REAL purpose of rabies vaccinations in pets is to protect people. Our dogs (and cats) stand on the front lines — or sniff around them, as the case may be.
Pets protect us, in more ways than we know.
Still, people, in general, should be worried because it turns out there is a SHORTAGE of the post-rabies-exposure vaccines used for people. That can’t be good, if you live somewhere with high potential exposure.
I continue to tell our story … not because I want to scare people away from vaccines. I tell our story because I didn’t know something this serious was even possible.
As I’ve said in various spots, including our 5-part adverse vaccine reaction FAQ, if you know ANY pet who has had ANY kind of adverse vaccine reaction — no matter how seemingly minor — please, please, please advise the family to talk to their veterinarian about the potential serious risks of future vaccinations … not just for rabies, but for anything.
If you are new to our story, feel free to use the blog post category pull-down menu in the sidebar or this Adverse Vaccine Reaction category link to access all the posts we’ve published since Lilly got very, very sick with meningoencephalo-myelitis (inflammation of the brain and lining of the brain and spinal cord) after an adverse reaction to a rabies vaccine given January 23, 2012. We’re working VERY hard to help her fully recover from both her cognitive and neurological deficits. She had been doing well, with a strong prognosis until a massive relapse in August 2012. Now, her prognosis is unknown.
We are trying a new treatment and are hopeful, but realistic.