Message Number: YG3796 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Debra Thomason
Date: 2001-05-20 15:23:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Are we over vaccinating our ferrets?

>>I also ask my vet how many distemper animals he has seen in the past few
>>years and he says very few! I also will not be taking my animals out in
>>the public anymore.
>>Charleen and the Wa. Tails
>You are lucky! I don't know how it's been the last year, but we had
>a run of Canine Distemper in the wild populations here a few years
>ago that went through a lot of critters

The Dallas/Fort Worth area has had the same problems with canine distemper
in wild raccoons and in the dog population in the past 2-3 years. Warnings
have been issued by some of the cities and it made the news last year. Just
before Christmas I got a call to help a shelter because the shelter operator
couldn't leave work and had ferrets that were being brought in by a woman
who had rescued them on her own and needed help. They were reported to be
sick, and the symptoms sure sounded to me like canine distemper. It was
clear to me when I saw them that this was the case. All of the ferrets had
to be put down, including some belonging to the woman who had rescued them,
because they were not vaccinated and had gotten it too.

D/FW also has had the unfortunate distinction this year of experiencing a
drastic spike in the number of confirmed cases of rabies. It went from a
max of 5 or so cases a year to something like 44 positives so far this year,
I believe that was in Dallas county. I tried hitting the dept. of health
site to get exact numbers, but everytime I tried to open the necessary docs
my browser would freeze! Situations like this outbreak tend to make public
health officials extra paranoid. I wouldn't want to have to argue for my
ferret's life with them without the extra weight of vaccination history on
my side.

Texas is one of the states that moved to 10-day quarantines instead of
kill-and-test in their Dept. of Health regulations, but I checked a couple
of months ago and found that the number of ferrets being killed and tested
in our state each year has stayed pretty much the same in spite of the new
rules. I've been contacted more than once in the nearly three years since
the changes were made by a frantic owner trying to keep their ferret from
being put down by local health authorities and had to find folks at the
state office who were willing to intervene on behalf of the ferrets.

So I'll continue to vaccinate so long as there are no life-threatening
reactions, the animals are in reasonable health at the time of the
vaccination, and we don't have the studies to prove what less frequent
schedule and vaccine combo provides the margin of safety. Everyone should
take into account their own local and regional disease rate and the
attitudes of public health officials in deciding to discontinue or reduce
vaccination schedules!

Debra in Fort Worth