Message Number: YG3259 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Karen Purcell, DVM
Date: 2001-05-05 06:54:00 UTC
Subject: Re:Rabies Vaccine


You wrote:
> I am sure that this question has been asked before, but I would like to ask
> it again.
> The question is concerning the rabies vaccine that we, as ferret owners, give
> our babies.
> Has anyone as of yet, or plan to in the future , to do a study as to how
> often we have to have our little ones vaccinated or if the vaccine builds up
> in their systems. Why is there not a vaccine that can be given only every
> two or three years, like the vaccine that there is for cats?
> I realize that the little ones need this vaccine. But isn't anyone concerned
> that we could be overdosing them with too much vaccine?
> I have put this question to several vets and too a few shelter operators, no
> one can come up with an answer for me. Is there anyone that can give me an
> answer.

This has been answered thoroughly on this list before, but I'll
try to give you the scoop. The Imrab rabies vaccine has only been
approved for use as a one year vaccine by the government powers that
be. The tests involved are very expensive, and it is up to the
manufacturer to complete testing to prove that the vaccine is good
for a longer period of time. Frankly, Merck can sell more vaccine if
given yearly, so they are unlikely to do the work for the further
So, what we need for approval is a long term study that shows
appropriately protective titers against rabies. This will involve a
fairly large number of ferrets receiving the vaccine, then being
exposed to active rabies virus each year to determine length of
protection. This will take money, time, and ferret lives.
Is there a possibility we are overdosing our ferrets with vaccine?
Yes. Unfortunately, there is not much we can do about it out in the
real world.
Just my pessimistic view on the situation (I do see allergic
reactions to rabies as well).

-Dr. Karen
This e-mail is provided for general informational purposes only. It is in
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licensed veterinarian. If you are concerned about your pet's health, you
should seek the advice of your regular veterinarian as soon as possible.