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Three-Year Rabies Requirement
UPDATED. Finally Arkansas. Alabama and Rhode Island next?

The only state in the union to require a rabies vaccination every year may be changing its tune. Weeks after Arkansas extended its rabies booster requirement from every year to every three years, Alabama Senator Larry Dixon introduced legislation to do the same in his state. In addition, Senate Bill 469 includes a medical exemption clause for animals whose health would be jeopardized by the vaccination. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Health Committee. [Editor's Note: Progress in Alabama. On March 26, the Senate Health Committee has sent the three-year rabies vaccination requirement to the senate for a vote.]

Proponents of less frequent vaccination argue that the booster provides immunity that lasts for years and carries risks for significant adverse reactions including autoimmune diseases. Leading the fight against over-vaccination and spearheading research to determine the long-term duration of the rabies vaccine is The Rabies Challenge Fund. After success in Arkansas, the Fund began nudging legislators in Alabama and also Rhode Island, which has a two-year requirement.

Finally, earlier this week, Wichita, Kansas, extended its municipal ordinance from one- to three-year rabies requirement. (Unfortunately, these revisions to the city animal ordinance also included restrictions on Pit Bull owners, although the City Council rejected an outright breed ban.)

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Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com
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Submitted by Sara | March 16 2009 |

My dog has a bump between her shoulder blades, like a little volcano. Could it be from a rabies vaccination? Should I be worried.

Submitted by Bob Wilkins | March 16 2009 |

Metro/Davidson (Nashville, TN) requires rabies vaccinations every year.

Submitted by Kathy Konetzka-Close | March 17 2009 |

This is absolutely a good thing for dogs and their caregivers. There has never been any medical justification for requiring rabies vaccines to be given yearly, but it has taken years to get the message out that the protection provided by vaccination lasts much longer than 12 months. Largely, it’s because in areas where rabies is a serious concern, it’s important that every domestic animal (in this case, the dog) be vaccinated against the disease and the way to do that is to legislate it—make dog owners buy a dog license and require a current rabies vaccine to do so. I’m not suggesting that’s a bad thing; I’m just saying that it’s gratifying to finally see the health of the animal taking precedence over the money to be made by yearly vaccines/licenses. Wahoo!!!! An aside to Sara: if your dog has just recently been vaccinated, the loose skin between the shoulder blades is an easy and relatively painless area to administer an injection, although the rabies vaccination is often given in the hip area. At any rate, some dogs do develop a small “vaccine reaction” at the injection site and you should keep a close eye on the bump. In most cases it will resolve on it’s own, but if you are concerned, you should see your veterinarian and have your dog examined. DISCLAIMER: I’m not a veterinarian, but I have 16 years of experience working in the field. Please, any time you notice something unusual concerning your pet, call your veterinarian.

Submitted by Anonymous | May 25 2009 |

MY DOG WAS GIVEN A RABIES SHOT BETWEEN THE SHOULDER BLADES. HE DEVELOPED A LUMP IN THAT SPOT 2 TO 3 WEEKS AFTER THE SHOT.THE LUMP GREW TO THE SIZE OF A GOLF BALL AND THEN BY THE END OF THE WEEK ALMOST THE SIZE OF A TENNIS BALL. I BROUGHT HIM TO THE VET AND HE GAVE ME INFLAMATORY MEDS AND ANTIBIOTICS TO GIVE HIM FOR A WEEK. BY THE END OF THAT WEEK THE HUGE LUMP STARTED TO LEAK BLOOD AND PUS. I PUT HIM IN THE SHOWER AND CONTINUED TO RINSE OFF THE SPOT UNTIL MOST OF THE FLUID WAS DRAINED OUT. AFTERWARDS I TREATED HIM WITH NEOSPORUM AND HE NOW SEEMS TO BE FINE ALTHOUGH I AM SCARED TO LET HIM GET ANOTHER SHOT ESPECIALLY IN THAT AREA.

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