Reprinted by permission

The Director of Animal Welfare, Norma Worley, is trying to change the rabies immunization requirement for puppies from 6 months to 3 months (that’s barely 12 weeks old) in the State of Maine. This is despite the fact that Maine hasn’t had a documented case of a rabid dog since 2003 and there have only been 5 documented cases since 1994 (that’s 14 years), and none of them were noted as being puppies.

In response to this, Kris L. Christine, Founder and Co-Trustee of The Rabies Challenge Fund , submitted an opposing rebuttal at the February 11th hearing before Maine’s Agriculture Committee. If you are interested in voicing your opinion regarding this measure, please email the Committee members and putting in the subject line “LD 2171 Section 7”.

The Committee wants to hear from the dog-owning public, and, if it doesn’t, dogs owners in Maine may end up being required to add a rabies vaccine into the mix of puppyhood shots that are already being administered at that age.

Here are excerpts from Ms. Christine’s rebuttal:

“… I live with my family in Alna, Maine. I am the Founder and Co-Trustee of The Rabies Challenge Fund (RCF). My colleagues - Dr. W. Jean Dodds of Hemopet, Co-Trustee of the RCF and Dr. Ronald Schultz of the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, currently conducting 5 & 7 year rabies challenge studies for the RCF – are the world’s two leading veterinary vaccine research scientists…

“… vaccinating puppies at too young an age can be ineffective, according to the 2003 AAHA Canine Vaccine Guidlelines reports (see page 17) …

“… Page 16 states that ‘when vaccinating an animal, the age of the animal, the animal’s immune status, and interference by maternal antibodies in the development of immunity must be considered. Research has demonstrated that the presence of passively acquired maternal antibodies interferes with the immune response to many canine vaccines, including CPV, CDV, CAR-2 and rabies vaccine.

 “… Rabies, a ‘killed’ vaccine, is the most potent of the veterinary vaccines and is associated with clinically significant adverse reactions – it should only be given when warranted. According to the 2003 AAHA Guidelines (page 16) “killed vaccines are much more likely to cause hypersensitivity reactions (e.g., immune-mediated disease).” Further, the AAHA task force reports on Page 18 that, “Bacterial vaccines, especially killed whole organism products … are much more likely to cause adverse reactions than subunit or live bacterial vaccines or MLV vaccines, especially if given topically. Several killed bacterial products are used as immunomodulators / adjuvants. Thus, their presence in a combination vaccine product may enhance or suppress the immune response or may cause an undesired response (e.g., IgE hypersensitivity or a class of antibody that is not protective).

“Adverse reactions such as autoimmune diseases affecting the thyroid, joints, blood, eyes, skin, kidney, liver, bowel and central nervous system; anaphylactic shock; aggression, seizures, epilepsy and fibrosarcomas at injection sites are linked to rabies vaccinations.

Although not all of us live in Maine … I think most of us don’t, if this gets pushed through in Maine … which is the next State that it will pop up in? Here are some of the Committee members and their email addresses:

SenJohn.Nutting@legislature.maine.gov;  Rsherm_2000@yahoo.com ; wpieh@lincoln.midcoast.com ; RepJackie.Lundeen@legislature.maine.gov ; piotti@uninets.net ; RepTimothy.Carter@legislature.maine.gov ; RepBen.Pratt@legislature.maine.gov ; lindonfarm@sacoriver.net ; RepDon.Marean@legislature.maine.gov ; pedgecom@maine.rr.com ; RepDean.Cray@legislature.maine.gov ; RepJeff.Gifford@legislature.maine.gov ;
Melissa.Wright@legislature.maine.gov ; mrotundo@bates.edu

    I've just returned from the Maine Agriculture Committee's work session on Section 7 of LD 2171, the proposed legislation which would have amended the Animal Welfare law to require that puppies be vaccinated against rabies at 3 months instead of at 6 months as the law currently stands.
    The official word from the Co-Chair of the Committee, Representative Wendy Pieh, was:  "Your testimony plus the followup that we have all received has made the decision that the rabies vaccination time will NOT be changed."
    "The followup" that the committee members received was SEVERAL HUNDRED E-MAILS in opposition to the amendment -- they were swamped!!   The response was so overwhelming that even the Director of Animal Welfare, Norma Worley, who wrote and pushed the amendment requested that it be deleted!
    MANY, MANY THANKS for responding to the action alert!  Contacting the committee made a huge difference in the lives of Maine dogs, and the law will not be changed as a result!
Kris L. Christine
Founder, Co-Trustee

NRTA neither endorses nor rejects the above action. This is simply information for our members to keep them abreast of current events of a canine nature.

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