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Author Topic: Rabies booster after encounter with animal?  (Read 768 times)


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Rabies booster after encounter with animal?
« on: November 13, 2017, 05:38:22 PM »

Posey has evanís Syndrome and has relapsed once. She is just getting better and on low dose of her meds at the moment. She had a little encounter with a woodchuck in the back yard this weekend. We got it away from her and woodchuck seemed OK. His back leg is dragging which may be a sign of rabies? Iíve seen him the last couple days as well and heís just still going slow and munching on plants in the yard. Iím now getting conflicting advise from vets. Do I get her a rabies booster or not??? As far as we could tell there were no scratches or bites on her. She only had it in her mouth for a few seconds. Iím not sure which route is more risky. Any thoughts or experiences with this would be much appreciated!


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Re: Rabies booster after encounter with animal?
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2017, 09:46:20 AM »


Posey has done well to have reached remission with Evan's Syndrome. It can be a difficult AI disease to bring under control.  So with this in mind, and the widely accepted  knowledge/proof that vaccinations can trigger an AI disease in a genetically predisposed dose like Posey, then I feel you have to look that the bear facts.  I live in the UK and we don't have rabies here and therefore I have no experience of a situation like this,  so I hope those who live in an area that potentially has more exposure to rabies will join in.

A couple of years ago I attended a seminar at the Royal Veterinary College and asked Prof. Brian Catchpole if a dog that has had an AI disease should ever be vaccinated again, and he categorically said "No!"  He went on to say that the "risks of vaccination to a dog that has had an AI disease outweighs the benefits".

Because Posey has had Evan's Syndrome you know that she is genetically predisposed to autoimmunity and therefore is at risk of getting a further episode of autoimmune disease if she meets a 'trigger'.  Vaccinations are known to have triggered AI disease so unless the vaccine is absolutely necessary then the risks of vaccination outweigh the benefits.   If you apply this to your situation then perhaps you can consider the following:

An injured back leg could have been caused by lots of different events, and as the woodcock isn't displaying classic, clinical signs of rabies then unless that changes I would want to presume that he doesn't have rabies.

As you know,  if it does have rabies, unless Posey has been in contact with the woodchuck's bodily fluids she will not get it. 

If the woodchuck has rabies, and it is a big IF, then Posey has already been in contact with it, so if by chance it has infected her will the vaccine, at this stage, do any good? I genuinely don't know the answer to this.

Also, it is widely accepted that vaccinating a dog whilst on prednisolone (or on immunosuppressive therapy) is particularly dangerous and if vaccination is absolutely necessary it should not be performed until at least a few weeks after therapy has finished.  Look at these links:


"Vaccines may be less effective or result in infections when pets are on high doses of prednisone or prednisolone. In general, vaccination should be delayed whenever possible." http://www.petmd.com/pet-medication/prednisone-prednisolone

So vaccination could even induce the disease in a dog with a compromised immune system.


6) Vaccination of animals with a poor immune system.
Although live vaccines are not as virulent as wild-type vaccines, they do replicate in cells and damage them(it just takes them longer). By the time they grow numerous enough to do any real harm, the immune system has generally come along to kill them off, thereby preventing vaccine-associated disease and acquiring the needed immunity. If, however, the immune system response fails to 'show up', the live vaccine viruses will continue to replicate as the wild-types do and they will eventually produce symptoms of disease.

Evan's syndrome can be particularly tricky to treat and Posey has done well to have survived both episodes. The decision has to be yours but I wouldn't let a vet talk you into anything that your knowledge and instinct tells you is wrong and very risky.

Personally, I would keep a close eye on Posy and deal with anything that shows up as and when it happens - or not!