state rabies vaccination law making animals sick

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state rabies vaccination law making animals sick

Postby malernee » Tue Apr 27, 2004 12:58 pm

04.26.2004 02:16 A.M.
Pet owners say state rabies vaccination law making animals sick
The Associated Press
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - State health officials plan to send notices to veterinarians correcting a widespread misinterpretation of a state law regarding the frequency at which dogs should receive rabies vaccinations.

Pet owners in Maine have expressed anger over the law, which some veterinarians have interpreted to mean dogs should receive a shot every two years. A shot every two years would be more frequent than most canine experts recommend.

"We have never intended that this should be forcing people to vaccinate their dogs every two years," said Dr. Philip Haines, the bureau's deputy director. "We'll carefully craft an explanation that is easy to read and understand."

The mailings are a response to a family from Alna that complained to the state and said their dog had become ill from excessive vaccinations.

Peter and Kris Christine have grown wary of rabies vaccines since their 6-year-old yellow Labrador was diagnosed this month with a malignant mast cell tumor directly on the site of a rabies vaccination shot.

They say the law is unnecessarily complicated and puts dogs at risk.

"It's really an unworkable system," Peter Christine said.

Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the nervous system, ultimately causing death. Vaccines protect pets so that if they are bitten by a rabid raccoon or skunk, they can be treated with a shot.

There is no indication that a two-year vaccination schedule has detrimental affects on dogs. Adverse reactions affect only a small proportion of dogs and are mostly mild symptoms such as a fever or hives, said Dr. Link Welborn, a member of an American Animal Hospital Association task force that issued the guidelines.

"As with any other type of medication, you wouldn't want to use it more than necessary to achieve the benefit," said Welborn, a practicing veterinarian in Tampa, Fla.

Veterinarians in Maine use three-year vaccines for booster shots but understood the law to mean that they should vaccinate every two years, said Dr. Bill Bryant, president of the Maine Veterinary Medical Association.

Bryant still believes it was an appropriate interpretation, considering that rabies is a steady problem in Maine.

The vaccine also wears off faster with some dogs, he said.

"Caution is the way to go, and I think most clients and the public at large would understand that," said Bryant, a veterinarian in Winthrop. "We're not trying to over vaccinate anybody. We're trying to protect both animal and human health."
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“misunderstanding” of the regulations promoted by vets

Postby guest » Thu May 13, 2004 7:16 am

http://www.mainelincolncountynews.com/index.cfm?ID=6967
lincoln county news
Canine Rabies Rules Continue to Confuse
By Kay Liss
In the wake of controversy surrounding state laws regarding canine rabies immunization, the Dept. of Human Services Bureau of Health has sent out a letter to all veterinarians to clarify the confusing regulations. However, for some local veterinarians and others, the confusion is still there.

The law, 10-144, Chapter 260, states that a license will not be issued for any dog in the state without valid certification showing it has been immunized against rabies. And that certification “must show that the date of immunization has been within 360 days of primary immunization or within 730 for a booster immunization.” Then, Part B of the regulation says, in conflicting language, “booster rabies immunization must be conducted with a vaccine protecting for three years.”

As the law reads, a rabies vaccine is actually good for three years, but in order to obtain a dog license after the first immunization, which must be done in one year, proof of rabies vaccination within two years and 10 days, or 730 days, must be shown.

An Alna couple, Peter and Kris Christine, began looking into the law recently after their Labrador Retriever developed a mast cell tumor on its leg, which they noticed had been in the same spot he had been vaccinated for rabies about six months before. They then found out Maine was one of the few states, since the law had been in effect for 17 years, that routinely immunized its dogs for rabies every two years rather than three, and that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and rabies drug manufacturers maintain the vaccinations are good for three years.

The Christines also found AVMA literature that said “Unnecessary stimulation of the immune system does not result in enhanced disease resistance, and may increase the risk of post-vaccination events.” The AVMA further stated, “In addition [to adverse events to the immune system], a causal association in cats between injection sites and the subsequent development of a malignant tumor is the subject of ongoing research.”

The Christines, upset that their pet could have been unnecessarily exposed to its cancer from over-vaccination for rabies, wrote letters to the state Attorney General Steven Rowe, the acting Commissioner of Health John R. Nicholas and the State Veterinarian, Dr. Robert Gholson requesting that the law be changed to require vaccinations every three years.

Dr. Phillip Haines, Deputy Director of the Bureau of Health, responded that there had been a “misunderstanding” of the regulations and that rather than change the law he would send out a letter of clarification to all the veterinarians in the state.

The letter, sent out May 3, says: “Because a dog license is valid for a calendar year, beginning on Jan. 1, the rule requires proof that the dog has been immunized no more than two years before the issuance of the license, so that the public and Animal Control Officers are assured the dog is safely protected against rabies for the duration of the license. It is entirely possible for dog owners to get three years of dog licenses before they reimmunize their dog, though the fixed (calendar year) schedule for dog licensing may mean some interval between two and three years, dependent on the timing of licensure and immunization.”

The letter does state that representatives of the Bureau of Health, Dept. of Agriculture and Maine Veterinary Medical Association will convene a committee of the Rabies Working Group “to review the current rule in regard to wording…and consider changes to clarify and coordinate the vaccine recommendations as well as licensure requirements.”

Dr. Christine Welch of the Damariscotta Veterinary Clinic, said after receiving the letter, “We are all still fairly confused…We’ve done it [rabies booster vaccinations] every two years for 17 years. If the state wants us to do it differently, they should make it clearer. It would be nice if it were written in a clear fashion.”

She said she’s always known the vaccine was good for three years, but that for those who might not be counting the days to coordinate licensing with immunization, “it has always been better with a disease like rabies to know their pet is covered.” If pet owners go beyond the three years, it is a real danger, she said.

Welch remarked that she found the articles that had come out linking rabies and cancer were “scaring people,” and that there hadn’t been enough specific information presented about this research.

Dr. Laurie Howarth of Medomak Veterinary Service in Waldoboro, said, “Unless the state changes the date when dogs are licensed, we have to continue to vaccinate” for rabies every two years. She said it would be better if dogs could get licensed in conjunction with vaccinations, so that there wouldn’t be any confusion about timing.

Howarth said the computers in the office could be changed to remind dog owners every two years and 10 months, for instance, so that it would be within the three years the rabies vaccine is good for.

“A confusing issue”

Donald E. Hoenig, state veterinarian with the Dept. of Agriculture, said he thinks the states canine rabies vaccination regulation is “a confusing issue” and that he has “tried to figure it out over the years. I’m not surprised other people are confused.”

He said, “I think there are some changes we could propose that would satisfy the public health issue as well as clarify the regulations.” Hoenig will be part of the committee to convene, probably within two weeks, he said, to discuss the state canine rabies statutes.

“One way to change it would be to license on an anniversary basis instead of a calendar basis, like we do with cars. That way we could get three years out of the vaccine,” he added.

Kris Christine said she was surprised when State Animal Welfare Veterinarian Christine Fraser told her recently that her department had actually tried to change the law last year, without any success.

“I was really upset when I heard this. Just to think that my dog might possibly have been spared from developing a tumor if I hadn’t gone in for that rabies vaccination last September, complying dutifully with the law and the reminder from my vet,” the Alna woman said.

Fraser said her department head, Norma Worley, had tried to change the wording, but that the rabies law comes under Human Services, not her department, so she was unable to effect a change.

Another local resident who had read about the controversy in the news, Kathleen Shattuck of Newcastle, remarked that she had been concerned about the rabies vaccination protocol in Maine for many years and that she had called the state about it 15 years ago.

“I was told the vaccine was good for three years but the state requires dogs to be vaccinated every two years. I’m concerned about the health problems that may be caused by over-vaccination. For instance, the prevalence of allergies that pets seem to have more of lately, perhaps is due to over-vaccinations.” She would like to see the state laws changed.

Kenneth Marden of Whitefield, who is on the board of the American Kennel Club, said he thinks the law should be changed too, to every three years.
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maine state senator says over vaccinating

Postby guest » Mon Jul 19, 2004 6:58 am

Are We Over-Vaccinating Our Pets?

By Chris Hall , State Senator
Copyright © 2001 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.

The State of Maine requires only owners of dogs to
vaccinate their pets, and only for rabies – as a
condition of issuing a dog license. The law is silent
on other vaccinations for dogs, and for any
vaccinations for cats and other pets.

Yet it is common practice in Maine to vaccinate pets
annually for a range of diseases, and most pet owners
wish to do the right thing for their companion and (in
the case of diseases like rabies and kennel cough) for
society at large.

It comes as a surprise, then, to learn that the
frequency of vaccination is a controversial issue in
both the scientific community and increasingly among
veterinarians.

The issue came to a head this spring in Maine when a
campaign by pet owners, backed by recommendations from
national veterinary groups but opposed by some
veterinarians, persuaded the Maine Department of
Agriculture to change the state’s rabies vaccination
requirement from every two years to every three years.

Maine’s new three-year rabies rule brings us into line
with the practice in most other states, and with the
recommendations of a 2003 task force [convened] by the
American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA).

However, the AAHA task force went further than rabies
vaccines. It pointed out that many vaccines have an
effective life of five years or more, and that each
time an animal receives vaccine shots, it runs some
risk of adverse reaction.

The AAHA recommended that vaccine booster shots for
distemper, parvovirus, and hepatitis should be
administered no more frequently than at three year
intervals. More frequent shots literally do no good
whatever – an animal is either immune or it is not –
but they potentially can do harm because of the low
but real risks of adverse reaction by the animal’s
immune system.

The AAHA’s caution about over-vaccination resonates
strongly with many pet owners who are concerned about
reports of growing numbers of cancers in pets, tumors
at vaccine injection sites and post-vaccination
autoimmune disorders.

The state only tracks illnesses in farm animals, not
pets, so no clear pattern is visible through these
anecdotal reports. Nevertheless, when pets’ lives are
at stake, it is surely best to adhere to the
guidelines of the national veterinary bodies.

Unfortunately the 3-year interval recommendation is
controversial with some veterinarians. While some
people resist any change in ‘the way it’s always been
done,’ there appears to be another factor in play.
Veterinary schools teach business classes as well as
medicine, as most vets seek to become independent
businesspeople running a profitable practice.

Reading the debates over vaccination frequency in the
veterinary profession’s journals and on line, it is
evident that many vets feel their income is threatened
by a move away from annual vaccinations. Like dentists
who build a practice on the basis of repeat visits for
annual cleanings and check-ups, veterinary practices
need the steady flow of return customers.

But the dentists’ business model offers the solution
for veterinarians – check-ups, without vaccinations.
Annual animal check-ups are a healthy practice for
every pet owner, and some veterinarians are building
practices on the income stream from such check-ups
rather than on unnecessary vaccinations.

We must work to persuade pet owners to think in terms
of full annual check-ups, while also informing them of
the risks of over- and under-vaccination.

In the next legislature, I intend to introduce a Bill
to require full disclosure, in plain English, of
information about the risks, potential side effects,
and nationally recommended frequency of vaccine shots,
in the same way that pharmacists are required to give
out such information for prescription drugs.
I will be working with members of the AAHA task force,
nationally respected veterinary scientists, to develop
such wording.

No-one wants to add a layer of burdensome regulation
to veterinary practice. But when pets’ health is at
stake, it is appropriate to give full information to
an animal’s owner – and then let them decide. The best
friend an animal can have is a fully-informed owner.
----------------------------
Senator Chris Hall (D-Lincoln County) is a dog owner
who lives in Bristol. He serves on the Legislature’s
Business, Research and Economic Development Committee
and as Senate Chair of the Utilities and Energy
Committee. He can be contacted at
chrishall@tidewater.net
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Sen. Hall Pushes For Full Disclosure on Pet Vaccines

Postby guest » Wed Jul 21, 2004 7:40 pm

July 21, 2004












--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
the Lincoln county news headlines







Sen. Hall Pushes For Full Disclosure on Pet Vaccines
By Kay Liss
The canine rabies over-vaccination issue has taken on a new aspect recently with State Senator Chris Hall’s advocacy that full disclosure information on vaccines be provided to pet owners. The Bristol Democrat says he hopes to introduce such a bill in the upcoming legislative session.

Hall has been following the issue, which first arose in May in Lincoln County when an Alna couple drew attention to the confusing state law governing canine rabies vaccinations. Since then, state lawmakers from the Bureau of Health have sent out clarification letters to veterinarians in the state and also convened a task force to study changing the language of the law.

Confusion has arisen as a result of two seemingly conflicting components of the law, 10-144, Chapter 260, one which says canine rabies vaccines are good for three years and another that requires proof of a rabies booster vaccine within two years to obtain a dog license. Vets have been routinely sending out reminders on a two-year basis.

National veterinarian organizations, as well as manufacturers of canine rabies vaccines, recommend they be given no more than every three years. Maine is one of the few states that routinely administers them on a two-year cycle.

While state officials are finalizing the rewriting of the law to conform clearly with national recommendations, readying it for public review in the fall, they have also been receiving feedback from the letter they sent out, indicating continued confusion by vets as to how often to vaccinate dogs for rabies. This confusion has led to Deputy Director of the Bureau of Health Dr. Phillip W. Haines, State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Gholson and State Epidemiologist Dr. Kathleen Gensheimer agreeing to send out a second letter attempting again to clarify the issue. The Alna family, Peter and Kris Christine, and other citizens have raised additional concerns over the possible overvaccination for other diseases, in particular distemper, parvovirus and hepatitis. This combined booster shot is routinely given every year. Last year, an American Animal Hospital Association task force recommended the shot be given no more than every three years. Some studies have determined this shot is actually good for up to seven years. Some studies have also linked excessive vaccination of this and rabies to various immune disorder problems, and in the case of rabies vaccines, even to cancer.

The Christines first began looking into the issue when their Labrador retriever had developed a cancerous tumor on the site of a recent rabies immunization, which they, as most other Maine dog owners, had been getting for him every two years.

In an op-ed piece published in the Portland Press Herald on July 16, Hall says “Too many veterinary practices are financially dependent upon annual vaccinations…over thousands of animals, this regular stream of vaccination income forms the foundation of many veterinarian practices… Either because of this, or out of professional conservatism, there is resistance to the medical evidence favoring reduced frequency of vaccination.”

He points out that there are vets who have adopted the less-frequent standard, but there are still those who continue to recommend an annual DHLP-PV shot. He goes on to say that a more informed public could make better decisions for pets, thus his advocacy of a disclosure statement by veterinarians about “the risks, potential side effects and nationally recommended frequency of booster shots,” in the same manner pharmacists are required to give out such information for prescription drugs.

Hall concludes by adding that annual check-ups are important for pets, and that it is important to move from a “vaccines-based model to a check-up based model” for animal care. “Full disclosure will mean that the market… moves veterinarians away from automatic annual vaccinations towards a more thoughtful and cautious approach to preventative medicine in which the pet’s owner is a full partner.”

“The last thing I want to do,” Hall said in a recent interview, “is impose another complex set of regulations. That’s why I think disclosing the best information to pet owners is the best way to approach this.”





Vol. 129 - No. 30
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Maine Veterinary Practice Act link

Postby guest » Thu Jul 29, 2004 7:06 am

It's extraordinary, but after our extensive conversation about the pending change in Maine's canine rabies vaccination protocol, the attached reminder that our other dog is due for an annual distemper combo vaccination arrived. This is the precise practice that the Attorney General's Office, the State Board of Veterinary Medicine need to address -- veterinarians across the state are sending out notifications to their clients to bring their pets in for unnecessary vaccines. This must violate the same consumer protection laws other businesses in the state must obey. Surely the AG's office would be looking into muffler repair shops making a habit of unnecessarily replacing functional mufflers at the car owner's expense, so why are veterinarians failing to appear on their radar, don't the consumer protection laws apply to their profession?
As I forwarded you under separate cover (also copied below), sending out notices stating that pets are "overdue" for annual distemper vaccinations that they don't need qualifies as "unprofessional conduct" as I read the Maine Veterinary Practice Act (see #11 below) and also meets the standard of a violation of the State Board of Veterinary Medicine's Code of Ethics (See #10, 11, and 23 below) as I interpret them. If sending out notifications to lure animals into their offices in order to overmedicate them at the pet owner's expense doesn't constitute veterinary medical malpractice, what does? This practice of overvaccinating our pets is taking a serious toll on animals' health, never mind the pocketbook.
If there are consumer protection laws, professional conduct laws and rules requiring veterinarians to adhere to a Code of Ethics in order to set up a business in Maine, why aren't those laws being enforced? The state must step in to protect pet owners and their exploited animals. Overvaccinating dogs for rabies for more than 17 years is just the tip of the iceburg of the problem in this state.
Let me pass along some quotes from a July 2003 Consumer Reports article entitled Veterinary Care without the BITE:
"Since 1997, veterinarians have been hiking prices at more than twice the rate of overall inflation."
"Compounding pet owners' ire, the veterinary-care industry is still in the stone age of consumer protection law."
"Historically, consumers didn't have to be so wary. The veterinary profession has a reputation for honesty and ethics, according to Gallup polls, largely because of vets' compassion for animals and their willingness to be there in emergencies. In 1999, however, a study by KPMG Economic Consulting convinced many vets that they were the victims of their own kind hearts and hobbled by "inapprojpriate business practices" such as undercharging."
"About 66% of the 188 million visits to the vet by cats and dogs in 2001 involved vaccinations, and this bread-and-butter business made up 14% of the average vet's income."
"....most university veterinary teaching hospitals have increased the recommended time between other booster shots to every three to five years instead of annually."
Thank you for your interest in this important issue, which impacts so many pet owners and animals in this state. (according to the following Humane Society link: http://www.hsus.org/ace/11831 there are 65 million dogs in the U.S. and approximately 77.6 million cats. This link http://www.appma.org/press/press_releas ... -14-03.asp takes you to the APPMA website which conducted the 2003-2004 pet survey and they state that Dogs and cats are found in at least one-out-of-three U.S. households.) Would you please let me know when you expect the article to appear in the paper so I can make sure not to miss it?
Cheers, Kris

The following link will take you to the Maine Veterinary Practice Act, Section 4864 Revocation, suspension or discipline: http://janus.state.me.us/legis/statutes ... c4864.html

11. Unprofessional conduct. Unprofessional conduct, as defined in the rules of the board, includes, but is not limited to, the following:

B. Knowingly making any false or fraudulent statement, written or oral, in connection with the practice of veterinary medicine;


This link will take you to the Rule Chapters for the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation http://www.state.me.us/sos/cec/rcn/apa/02/chaps02.htm. If you scroll down to the "State Board of Veterinary Medicine" and click on "Ch. 7 Code of Ethics," it states:

10. Commit fraud or deceit in connection with services rendered as a Veterinary Doctor or Veterinary Technician;

11. Intentionally engage in false, misleading or deceptive advertising.......

23. Engage in conduct which evidences a lack of knowledge, or inability to aply principles or skills to carry out the practice of veterinary medicine.
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reply from Maine Vets

Postby malernee » Fri Jul 30, 2004 4:29 pm

Lincoln County News 7/29/04
Kay Liss' "article" regarding Senator Chris Hall and "Full Disclosure on Pet Vaccines" (The Lincoln County News, July 23) fails to meet any test for balanced reporting. Whereas other Maine newspapers and TV stations (WCSH Channel 6) which have covered this issue have contacted one or more veterinarians for input, the Lincoln County News story neglects such comment.
Senator Hall has every right to propose legislation based on extensive web-surfing done by constituents. However, to suggest that the motives of veterinarians who do not agree with him are based on self-serving financial considerations is inaccurate.
What is most irresponsible, however, is The Lincoln County News' willingness to publish as balanced news what amounts to a press release from Senator Hall's re-election campaign.
Most veterinarians will continue to use the best of emerging technology and proven scientific research findings for optimal health of our state's pets and livestock. In this regard, Maine pet owners and livestock owners are entitled to media coverage, which presents our point of view alongside occasional and inevitable criticism.
William Bell, Executive Director, Maine Veterinary Medical Association
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internet please write a letter to the editor lincoln county

Postby malernee » Fri Jul 30, 2004 4:33 pm

If you are concerned, no matter where you live, in or out of Lincoln County, in or out of the State of Maine, please write a letter to the editor of the Lincoln County News -- one or two sentences will do even if all you say is that you would like to see more information disclosed so you can make a more informed choice on vaccinations for your pet -- and send it in to the paper at the following link lcn@lincoln.midcoast.com or you can fax one to them at 563-3127. Please be sure to put your phone number down so the paper can verify that you wrote the letter (your number will not be printed). Thank you.
The vet lobby has a powerful incentive to stall this type of legislation giving full disclosure -- our legislators must hear from those who want it or they'll think no one does. Please spread the word and let your voices be heard -- you don't have to have data or documentation to write such a letter, just let the paper know you're in favor of the legislation. Thanks!
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giving B12 instead of Rabies vaccine reported on internet

Postby malernee » Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:13 pm

Subject: Over Use Of Vaccinations


Hello: I have received this inforamtion concerning the proposed legislation
of full disclosure on vaccinations for pets by veterinarians.Although I am a
resident of North Carolina you have my full support on this issue and
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I believe strongly that something must be done.There is
much more information concerning the consequences of over vaccination for
pets then the two mentioned in the Lincoln County News article.I am a
veterinarian whom is licensed in many states; NC,VA,PA,AR,OR,TX and also
have been licensed in OK,SC,MD.I currently own and operate two veterinary
practices.One is a Cat Only Hospital and the other is 100% Alternative
Medicine.We have a large body of information in both the American Holistic
Veterinary Medical Association,Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy,Association
of Botanical Medicine Veterinary Members and others whom are well aware of
the plight that pet owners and veterinarians are in. Six years ago I myself
became aware of a frustrated group of veterinarians in California that had
come to the conclusion that using B12 instead of Rabies vaccine was the only
way to not harm the very patient whom they had taken an oath to protect and
yet were also sworn to protect human health,they realized that using vitamin
B12 was not deleterious to their patients when overvaccinating with Rabies
certainly was and that human health did not have any worries in this
procedure due to the facts that Rabies protection was on board with just the
first two rabies vaccines.This disclosure legsilation is the first step to
correct a long standing dangerous and unwarranted policy.All the public
health and state laws regarding this needs to be addressed.We are stuck on
terribly outdated information concerning vaccination.My little piece of the
world has already changed as soon as the information was found out and this
was 5 years ago for me.Please continue on your course,please continue
aggressively to stop this overvaccination requirement,it is in direct
opposition of the doctors oath we all take in first, DO NO
HARM.Sincerely,P.Jordan,DVM
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senator hall state of maine lincon county pet vaccine news

Postby guest » Thu Aug 05, 2004 6:48 am

Greetings!

The following 9 letters-to-the-editor on Senator Hall's proposed pet vaccine disclosure legislation appear in this week's Lincoln County News which hit the newsstands on August 4th. Thank you for everyone who has responded so far. There are more letters which the paper has received, and I assume they will be printed in next week's issue.
In order to sustain momentum, please send in a letter-to-the-editor (short is still effective -- see the Gordons' letter below) to The Lincoln County News at lcn@lincoln.midcoast.com or fax it to (207) 563-3127. Please be sure to put "Letter to the Editor" on the subject line and include your phone number for verification (it will not be published in the paper).
Many, many, many thanks for your support. If we can get this passed in Maine, I believe it will trigger a nationwide trend.

Cheers, Kris Christine

(1)To the Editor

I am so thankful for the swift and comprehensive steps Senator Hall has made concerning the pet (over) vaccination issue. Full disclosure involving any healthcare practice can only be a win-win situation for doctor and patient/client. Hopefully, I may soon be able to sheepishly step forward to have my dogs licensed. I have avoided this act for years because I knew the rabies vaccine label to read a 3-year recommended duration between revaccination. Our family also had a pet acquire a malignant tumor at the rabies vaccination injection site, so I chose to break the law rather than adhere to the perceived state mandate of rabies vaccination every two years. Instead of taking the bold steps necessary to change the law, I took the law into my own hands by vaccinating every three years and avoiding my town office. Thanks again to Senator Hall.
Susan Giglia, D.C.
Nobleboro

(2) Dear Editor,

I am puzzled by the letter you published last week from William Bell, the
Executive Director of the Maine Veterinary Medical Association, who equates
a legislative attempt by Chris Hall to provide pet owners with information
that will prevent over-vaccination of animals with election year
campaigning. I know we are getting into the silly season, but this is
ridiculous!

Mr. Bell complains that a Lincoln County News story did not "present our
point of view" and then, having been given the opportunity to do just this,
fails to present it himself. It would be more helpful to pet owners who are
not familiar with the issues if, instead of trying to politicize this
matter, he explained why his organization opposes Chris Hall's measure
which has the laudable intention of preventing unnecessary vaccinations.
What is wrong with this?

Nigel Calder
Alna

(3) To the Editor



Mr. Bell’s response to Kay Liss’ article, Senator Hall Pushes for Full Disclosure on Pet Vaccines reminded us of the May 20th panel discussion of the subset of the Rabies Working Group at which his organization’s president and lobbyist, Dr. Bill Bryant, was the lone voice resisting amendment of Maine’s flawed 2 year rabies immunization regulation to meet the 3 year standard recommended by all national veterinary medical associations and colleges, all rabies vaccines manufacturers, and adopted by 46 other states. Mr. Bell’s organization favored overvaccinating dogs for rabies and appears reluctant to adopt the reduced vaccination schedules for other core vaccines advised by all 27 veterinary colleges

We do research on the Internet, as Mr. Bell alludes, which is how we discovered his organization’s website. The Internet is an effective tool for disseminating information that might otherwise not come to light – such as the fact that unnecessary vaccinations overwhelm an animal’s immune system, making them more vulnerable to disease. If Mr. Bell employed the Internet, he could have read Kay Liss’ other articles on pet vaccines which included comments from the following veterinarians: Dr. Christine Welch, Dr. Laurie Horwarth, Dr. Donald Hoenig, Dr. Robert Gholson, and Dr. Christine Fraser. It is our understanding that Ms. Liss contacted another local veterinarian for comment for her recent article, but the call was never returned.

DVM, the Newsmagazine of Veterinary Medicine is an enlightening veterinary trade journal accessible on the Internet. They have devoted an entire link of professional articles to the vaccination controversy, which is raging nationwide.

In an October 2002 DVM article. AVMA, AAHA to Release Vaccine Positions, it states that the “AVMA [American Veterinary Medical Association] admits that the practice of annual vaccinations is based on historic precedent and not research.” In its July 1, 2003 article, “What Do We Tell Our Clients,” it reports that after having adopted the annual vaccination habit, many veterinarians consider any change to be a “practice buster” and “fear the loss of [their] vaccine hook”. A major concern expressed in several other DVM articles on the vaccination controversy is how vets can repair their credibility after their clients come across data conflicting with their vaccination schedules. However, nowhere in those articles is the scientific basis for the reduced vaccination guidelines of the American Animal Hospital Association disputed.

Veterinarians using annual vaccinations as a tool for getting clients in the door have ignored the challenge studies Dr. Ronald Schultz of the University of Wisconsin’s School of Veterinary Medicine has conducted since the 1970’s showing extended durations of immunity for most veterinary vaccines. They have also chosen to disregard the 2000 Report of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and Academy of Feline Medicine Advisory Panel on Feline Vaccines as well as the 2003 Canine Vaccine Guidelines of the American Animal Hospital Association. The current practice of annual vaccinations for diseases such as distemper, parvovirus and hepatitis, which is not based on scientific research, gained favor among vets in the 1980’s, and because it enhanced revenue, practices grew, and it became an accepted way of doing business.

Senator Hall has proposed this pet vaccine disclosure on behalf of his numerous pet-owning constituents and is working with the nation’s leading expert on vaccine challenge studies, Dr. Ronald Schultz. Mr. Bell should explain his organization’s position on Senator Hall’s proposed legislation which will require veterinary vaccine disclosures similar to disclosures required for consumers’ prescription drug or real estate purchases. Otherwise, the public will be left assuming that Maine’s Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) opposes clients having detailed information about the vaccines administered to their pets. Should the public also assume that MVMA opposes informed consent? Have Mr. Bell and the 312 veterinarians making up the MVMA considered supporting Senator Hall’s disclosure legislation in order to prevent a crisis of confidence in their profession?

Overvaccination is a pet health and consumer protection issue, not a partisan one. Informed consent protects the public, their pets, and veterinary medical care providers.

Peter and Kris Christine

Alna, ME 04535



(4) To the Editor:
Many thanks to local resident Kris Christine and reporter Kay Liss of the Lincoln County News for an exceptional piece of investigative reporting on the controversy over the redundancy and health hazards of pet vaccinations.
As a dog owner of many years, with pets of all breeds, non-breeds, and dispositions, I know that many people share my concern for the welfare of our four-footed friends and companions. After reading Kay Liss's well-researched articles which included numerous diverse interviews and solid scientific findings, I think the public has a clear right to full disclosure of benefits and risks, and to legislation which supports a more conservative use of vaccination protocols. Such reasonable legislation in the public interest is pending in Maine, and I support and applaud Senator Chris Hall for backing this measure on behalf of all of us who love our animal friends. The veterinary community, dedicated and hard-working people who have our pets best interests at heart, should likewise embrace this legislation as crafting a reasonable position in light of the emerging research.
Again, congratulations to the News for your excellent reporting and to all those who have helped to raise this issue.
Belva Ann Prycel
Alna, Maine 04535

(5) To the Editor:

Because clarity has been not forthcoming about veterinary vaccines for dogs and cats, we would like to know at least the significant facts so that we could make a sensible choice.
David and Ellen Gordon
Alna

(6) To the Editor:

It has come to my attention that State Senator Chris Hall hopes to introduce a bill into the upcoming legislative session that the full disclosure of information on vaccines be provided to pet owners. I'm assuming the need to introduce such a bill means that this information is not already being made available readily to the public. For shame! Whether you agree or do not agree with the issue of vaccinations or how often to do them, no one should be unwilling to support the disclosure of information to the public and/or pet owners who have the right to make informed decisions of any kind, in this case: concerning vaccination. By not supporting this "right to know" it gives the appearance of needing to hide facts, which, in this day and age, I hope all agree, is a sorry position to take. Does the public or individual no longer have the right to make an informed decision? Are we going backwards or ahead? Would any members of the Legislature feel justified in taking this right away from its citizens?
Please support the right to know, whatever the circumstance.
Diane Allen
Allenwood, N.J.

(7) To the Editor:

Vaccines damage people and animals. The theory behind vaccines is not proven science. The fillers used in the vaccine to preserve it are toxic to humans and animals.
If it is possible for you to promote a healthy open debate on vaccines, I would be grateful. I legally treat animals in Australia and unfortunately, some are damaged by vaccines -- e.g., have epilepsy following vaccination with recommendation to euthanasia, i.e., bury the mistake. This is not right in the 21st century in democratic countries. The USA is a health trend setter, let it lead the way forward in this debate for others around the globe.
Sharon Bridgeman, Practitioner of Acupuncture
Laidley, Australia

(8) Dear Lincoln County News:



As a pet owner and livestock farmer, I am regularly dependant on accurate information for their health and welfare. I applaud anyone’s attempt to open up discussion and discovery on these topics. Thank you Kris Christine and Chris Hall for going the extra mile and getting this discussion of over-vaccinating out for us to investigate.

Lucy Harrington a.k.a. the Alpaca Lady
Newcastle

(9) Dear Editor:

I am writing in response to the current controversy of over vaccination of pets, specifically with regard to
Rabies vaccine requirements in the State of Maine. This issue was raised by a family in Alna whose dog was diagnosed with a
cancerous tumor shortly after receiving his 2-year Rabies vaccine booster.
Maine is one of a great minority of states in this country that doesn’t follow
vaccine manufacturer’s recommendations of boosters every 3 years, but
rather dictates the timing based upon some rationale involving licensure
issues -- basically, every 2 years. The vaccine, after initial
vaccination and a one-year booster is prescribed by the manufacturer as a
3-year vaccine... that being the case, who can decide to override that?
Legislators? Based upon what study information?

The research is endless and supported by well respected veterinary
organizations. Senator Hall has proposed legislation requiring disclosure statements for veterinarians to present
to their clients with respect to the risks and benefits involved in all pet vaccinations as a
response to over vaccination. I am wondering, for my own pets as well as those of
our many customers, why the Maine Veterinary Medical Association hesitated to support correcting the Rabies vaccination regulation. Or why they didn't call (seems obvious) for all state licensed veterinarians to follow rabies vaccine manufacturer's
specifications explicitly. Why haven't they quickly offered full support for Senator Hall’s disclosure legislation?

Veterinarian Dr. Ronald Schultz of the University of Wisconsin’s School of
Veterinary Medicine has done many vaccine studies on duration of vaccine
immunity. His studies and many others show evidence of immunity lasting
several years in dogs and cats for all vaccines, not just the rabies vaccine.
Some practices have already adopted the practice of extending time
between re-vaccination in an effort to avoid potential health risks of over
vaccination as well as to save clients unnecessary expense. Annual check
ups are a great practice and, as many articles suggest, should be the focus
of the veterinary visit rather than repeated, unnecessary vaccines that may
result in health risks rather then good preventative care.

As an owner of a boarding kennel, as well as many loved pets, we look to our
veterinary care providers to be the leaders in recommendations for
schedules of vaccines and health care. We do not want to be giving any
discrepant or confusing advise to our clients. Nor do we want to give them
advise that, according to many leaders, researchers and educators in the
field, seems contrary to proper pet health are. We are already accepting pets
with vaccines given at longer intervals and are thrilled to do so. We believe,
and will support, as schools do with children, that an annual check-up is
paramount to maintaining good health, but we are asking that all
veterinarians re-examine the issue of over vaccinating and change their policies
in the path recommended by their organizations, associations and schools.

I looked to our own association in the boarding industry, the American
Boarding Kennel Association (ABKA), for their position on this issue. They
have taken a very passive role by requiring the following of its member
kennels... ‘’Dogs on premises [must?] have current vaccinations for DHLPP and
Bordetella. (DHLPP & Bordetella requirements may be waived upon written
recommendation from pet’s veterinarian. Hard copy to be kept on file.” and
‘Cats on premises must have current vaccinations [for?] FVRCP. (FVRCP
requirements may be waived upon written recommendation from pet’s
veterinarian. Hard copy to be kept on file.) Typos belong to the ABKA, not
me! I was disappointed to find another leader in the field reluctant to step
forward and support the national research and recommendations available.

We ask that all Maine's pet owners investigate these issues with your veterinarian
and offer support for Senator Hall's veterinary vaccine disclosure, which will benefit pet owners statewide!

Peg Wheeler BS, LVT
The Critter Barn Inc.
Berwick, ME 03901
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Senator thinks Maine three year rabies law is a two year law

Postby guest » Sun Aug 08, 2004 8:35 am

http://www.sunjournal.com/opinion/lette ... 808077.php

Are we over-vaccinating our pets?

Sunday, August 8,2004
The state of Maine requires that owners of dogs vaccinate their pets, and only for rabies, as a condition of issuing a dog license. The law is silent on other vaccinations for dogs, and for any vaccinations for cats and other pets. Yet it is common practice in Maine to vaccinate pets annually for a range of diseases, and most pet owners wish to do the right thing for their companion and (in the case of diseases like rabies and kennel cough) for society at large.

It comes as a surprise, then, to learn that the frequency of vaccination is a controversial issue in both the scientific community and increasingly among veterinarians. The issue came to a head this spring in Maine when a campaign by pet owners, backed by recommendations from national veterinary groups but opposed by some veterinarians, persuaded the Maine Department of Agriculture to change the state's rabies vaccination requirement from every two years to every three years.

Maine's new three-year rabies rule brings us into line with the practice in most other states and with the recommendations of a 2003 task force by the American Animal Hospital Association. However, the AAHA task force went further than rabies vaccines. It pointed out that many vaccines have an effective life of five years or more, and that each time an animal receives vaccine shots, it runs some risk of adverse reaction. The AAHA recommended that vaccine booster shots for distemper, parvovirus and hepatitis should be administered no more frequently than at three-year intervals. More frequent shots literally do no good whatever - an animal is either immune or it is not - but they potentially can do harm because of the low, but real, risks of adverse reaction by the animal's immune system.

The AAHA's caution about over-vaccination resonates strongly with many pet owners who are concerned about reports of growing numbers of cancers in pets, tumors at vaccine injection sites and post-vaccination autoimmune disorders. The state only tracks illnesses in farm animals, not pets, so no clear pattern is visible through these anecdotal reports. But with pets' lives at stake, we should adhere to the guidelines of the national veterinary bodies.

Unfortunately, the three-year interval recommendation is controversial with some veterinarians. While some people resist any change in "the way it's always been done," there appears to be another factor in play. Veterinary schools teach business classes as well as medicine, as most vets seek to become independent business people running a profitable practice. Reading the debates over vaccination frequency in the veterinary profession's journals and online, it is evident that many vets feel their income is threatened by a move away from annual vaccinations.

Like dentists who build a practice on the basis of repeat visits for annual cleanings and checkups, veterinary practices need the steady flow of return customers. But the dentists' business model offers the solution for veterinarians - checkups, without vaccinations. Annual animal checkups are a healthy practice for every pet owner, and some veterinarians are building practices on the income stream from such checkups rather than on unnecessary vaccinations. We must work to persuade pet owners to think in terms of full annual checkups, while also informing them of the risks of over- and under-vaccination.

In the next Legislature, I intend to introduce a bill to require full disclosure, in plain English, of information about the risks, potential side effects and nationally recommended frequency of vaccine shots, in the same way that pharmacists are required to give out such information for prescription drugs. I will be working with members of the AAHA task force, nationally respected veterinary scientists, to develop such wording.

No one wants to add a layer of burdensome regulation to veterinary practice. But when pets' health is at stake, it is appropriate to give full information to an animal's owner and then let them decide. The best friend an animal can have is a fully informed owner.

Sen. Chris Hall, D-Lincoln County, is a dog owner who lives in Bristol. He is Senate chair of the Utilities and Energy Committee and serves on the Legislature's Business, Research and Economic Development Committee.
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activist vet tricked into thinking old law said two years

Postby guest » Thu Aug 12, 2004 8:33 am

http://www.bangornews.com/editorialnews ... ?ID=428110
By Sharon Kiley Mack

Activist pushes for rabies-shot rule change



AUGUSTA - When her 7-year-old Labrador retriever was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor at the injection site of its rabies booster, Kris Christine of Alna began investigating whether there was a link between rabies shots and tumors.What she discovered has turned Maine's pet vaccination standard upside down and has prompted the state Department of Health and Human Services to revamp its 17-year-old vaccination protocol. The department is now advocating dogs receive the rabies booster every three years, instead of the current two-year protocol.


Christine's campaign for vaccination reform began when her dog, Meadow, had to undergo four surgeries for tumors she said are related to rabies vaccines. She discovered that contrary to the recommendations of U.S. veterinary colleges, despite the recommendations of the National Veterinary Association, and in direct disregard of manufacturers' recommendations, Maine veterinarians were routinely giving rabies vaccination boosters every two years rather than every three years.

At least 46 other states have a three-year vaccination protocol. Yet in Maine, boosters are required every two years in order to license a dog, forcing veterinarians to overvaccinate in order to meet state license regulations.

Christine said Wednesday that the issue is not just one of pet health and compassion but one of consumer protection.

"The Attorney General's Office should be investigating this and they have turned a blind eye. Even the state Board of Veterinary Medicine, which oversees Maine's vets and is trusted to protect the public's interest, is not doing their job," she said.

Since her reform campaign began, however, Maine vets have joined the groundswell of support for change, calling the current state requirement "outdated and unethical."

The Maine Veterinary Medical Association has recently thrown its full support behind changing to a three-year vaccination protocol, said William Bell, executive director. Bell added, however, that Christine's contention that a two-year regimen is overvaccination is incorrect and alarmist.

"The first rule of veterinary medicine is do no harm," he said. "There has never, ever been any research suggesting that vaccinations cause cancerous tumors."

Yearly and biyearly vaccinations are often called a "cash cow" for vets, said Christine, and until she came along and began questioning the process, "no one has challenged their practices. When they send out annual reminders to pet owners, that is deceit in connection with their practice. We had always trusted our veterinarians. This betrayal came as a stunning blow."

The National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians and the American Veterinary Medical Association stated in a 2003 Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control that "there are no laboratory or epidemiologic data to support the annual or biennial administration of 3-year vaccines following the initial series."

In the 2001 Principles of Vaccination, the AVMA further states that "vaccination is a potent medical procedure associated with both benefits and risks. Adverse events, including some that are potentially severe, can be unintended consequences of vaccination."

In addition, rabies vaccine manufacturers specify on the product label or package insert that "vaccines used in state and local rabies-control programs should have a three-year duration of immunity."

Particularly distressing to Christine is the way the issue appears to have been ignored by the veterinary industry until recently.

"Why wasn't there one single whistle-blowing veterinarian in more than 17 years to bring the conflicting canine rabies protocol to the state's attention?" she asked. "They all knew it was contrary to the vaccine manufacturer's specifications, as well as the recommendations of all the national veterinary medical associations and all 27 veterinary colleges, yet none of them challenged it despite the fact that they knew they were overvaccinating our dogs for rabies."

Bell said the realization that the vaccine is good for three years "is a fairly recent development, within the past two or three years." During that time, he said state veterinarians have suggested to the Legislature's Agriculture Committee that the rule be changed.

"Every time, the process has been driven by what municipal clerks want, not what is good for pets," said Bell.

Bell said the real danger and a higher priority should be getting unvaccinated animals protected with the vaccine.

Maine's Deputy Director of the Bureau of Health, Dr. Philip W. Haines, has sent out two letters to all Maine veterinarians recommending they adopt the three-year protocol.

The public hearing on Maine's proposed rule change will be held in Augusta from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 31, at the Cross State Office Building, Room 220. Written comments will be accepted until Sept. 10. Send to Key Plaza, 8th Floor, 11 State House Station, Augusta 04333.
guest
 

letters to lincon county news about maine vaccination laws

Postby guest » Thu Aug 12, 2004 10:23 am

Lincon county news

To the Editor:

I refer to Senator Hall's proposed legislation on vaccine disclosure. This issue is not confined to the U.S. Here in Australia we are free of rabies, but our dogs are being vaccinated annually against other canine diseases that unvaccinated dogs never succumb to. Why vaccinate when there is no reasonable chance of contracting the disease being vaccinated against -- only a very real risk of an adverse reaction which can be very serious?
Within 48 hours of her last booster shot, my dog developed encephalitis and her behavior changed drastically. Were it not for the prompt intervention of a holistic veterinarinan, I'd have lost this well-trained, highly valued and extremely popular therapy dog. When cerebral irritation and its effects are consequences of vaccination, then there is far more than health of the individual pets that are at stake. It becomes a Public Health issue too!

Pat Styles
Gosnells, Western Australia

To the Editor

The problem is simple: Maine law currently requires us to overvaccinate our dogs, requiring rabies vaccines every two years vs. the national standard of every three years. Senator Chris Hall is proposing legislation requiring veterinarians to provide a disclosure to pet owners about the potential harmful effect of canine rabies vaccination.
Our beautiful Labrador Retriever, Lucy, was diagnosed with lymphoma shortly after her rabies booster was administered this year. Our pet oncologist, yes there is such a specialty, stated the following: "A dog's immune system can be compromised whenever you overvaccinate. The State of Maine requires us to give boosters every two vs. three years. There is no 'misunderstanding,' that is what is required by law."
We take excellent care of our three labs. If our veterinarian had ever told us that we were potentially killing our dog by over-vaccinating we would never have followed this harmful requirement.
What is so wrong about having a vet provide this disclosure before administering shots? Why would the Maine Veterinary Association find any fault with this disclosure except that it potentially cuts into their practice profits. Our veterinarians have been caring, compassionate professionals. I cannot believe they wouldn't welcome Senator Chris Hall's proposed legislation to require disclosure. This is a sensible piece of legislation that could save pet owners the heartache of having a dog, like our sweet Lucy, diagnosed with cancer.
Please, don't let the lobbyists protect the current "cash cow" of over-vaccinating by condemning our dogs to death by cancer.

Pam Smith
North Bridgton

To the Editor

I find it ridiculous that in this age of awareness that anyone could oppose the public's right to know! Whether it concerns our own health, our children's health or that of the pets we hold so dear. We have the right to stay informed by the doctors and veterinarians that we trust with our health and our pet's health! We have the right to make our own "informed" decisions. Does William Bell, Executive Director of the Maine Veterinary Medical Association, believe that the public will continue to blindly trust after finding out through the media that their trust was misplaced? I believe that the veterinary profession needs to come clean with the public.
Thank goodness for Kris and Peter Christine and Kay Liss for doing the research and informing the public! And thank goodness for Senator Hall who is willing to introduce a bill into the upcoming legislative session suggesting that the full disclosure of information on vaccines be provided to pet owners, and who is also willing to take a stand on a controversial subject during campaign season.

Julie Goodell
Minot
guest
 

maine vet association director promotes no VAS

Postby guest » Thu Aug 12, 2004 7:54 pm

Greetings!
The following article appears in today's Bangor Daily News.


http://www.bangornews.com/editorialnews ... ?ID=428110
By Sharon Kiley Mack

Activist pushes for rabies-shot rule change



AUGUSTA - When her 7-year-old Labrador retriever was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor at the injection site of its rabies booster, Kris Christine of Alna began investigating whether there was a link between rabies shots and tumors.What she discovered has turned Maine's pet vaccination standard upside down and has prompted the state Department of Health and Human Services to revamp its 17-year-old vaccination protocol. The department is now advocating dogs receive the rabies booster every three years, instead of the current two-year protocol.


Christine's campaign for vaccination reform began when her dog, Meadow, had to undergo four surgeries for tumors she said are related to rabies vaccines. She discovered that contrary to the recommendations of U.S. veterinary colleges, despite the recommendations of the National Veterinary Association, and in direct disregard of manufacturers' recommendations, Maine veterinarians were routinely giving rabies vaccination boosters every two years rather than every three years.

At least 46 other states have a three-year vaccination protocol. Yet in Maine, boosters are required every two years in order to license a dog, forcing veterinarians to overvaccinate in order to meet state license regulations.

Christine said Wednesday that the issue is not just one of pet health and compassion but one of consumer protection.

"The Attorney General's Office should be investigating this and they have turned a blind eye. Even the state Board of Veterinary Medicine, which oversees Maine's vets and is trusted to protect the public's interest, is not doing their job," she said.

Since her reform campaign began, however, Maine vets have joined the groundswell of support for change, calling the current state requirement "outdated and unethical."

The Maine Veterinary Medical Association has recently thrown its full support behind changing to a three-year vaccination protocol, said William Bell, executive director. Bell added, however, that Christine's contention that a two-year regimen is overvaccination is incorrect and alarmist.

"The first rule of veterinary medicine is do no harm," he said. "There has never, ever been any research suggesting that vaccinations cause cancerous tumors."

Yearly and biyearly vaccinations are often called a "cash cow" for vets, said Christine, and until she came along and began questioning the process, "no one has challenged their practices. When they send out annual reminders to pet owners, that is deceit in connection with their practice. We had always trusted our veterinarians. This betrayal came as a stunning blow."

The National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians and the American Veterinary Medical Association stated in a 2003 Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control that "there are no laboratory or epidemiologic data to support the annual or biennial administration of 3-year vaccines following the initial series."

In the 2001 Principles of Vaccination, the AVMA further states that "vaccination is a potent medical procedure associated with both benefits and risks. Adverse events, including some that are potentially severe, can be unintended consequences of vaccination."

In addition, rabies vaccine manufacturers specify on the product label or package insert that "vaccines used in state and local rabies-control programs should have a three-year duration of immunity."

Particularly distressing to Christine is the way the issue appears to have been ignored by the veterinary industry until recently.

"Why wasn't there one single whistle-blowing veterinarian in more than 17 years to bring the conflicting canine rabies protocol to the state's attention?" she asked. "They all knew it was contrary to the vaccine manufacturer's specifications, as well as the recommendations of all the national veterinary medical associations and all 27 veterinary colleges, yet none of them challenged it despite the fact that they knew they were overvaccinating our dogs for rabies."

Bell said the realization that the vaccine is good for three years "is a fairly recent development, within the past two or three years." During that time, he said state veterinarians have suggested to the Legislature's Agriculture Committee that the rule be changed.

"Every time, the process has been driven by what municipal clerks want, not what is good for pets," said Bell.

Bell said the real danger and a higher priority should be getting unvaccinated animals protected with the vaccine.

Maine's Deputy Director of the Bureau of Health, Dr. Philip W. Haines, has sent out two letters to all Maine veterinarians recommending they adopt the three-year protocol.

The public hearing on Maine's proposed rule change will be held in Augusta from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 31, at the Cross State Office Building, Room 220. Written comments will be accepted until Sept. 10. Send to Key Plaza, 8th Floor, 11 State House Station, Augusta 04333.
guest
 

maine vet association attack senator

Postby guest » Sun Aug 15, 2004 10:27 am

Greetings!

The letter below from Bill Bryant, President of the Maine Veterinary Medical Association, appears in today's Lewiston Sun Journal. Please keep in mind, he was literally the sole voice of resistance at the subset of the Rabies Working Group (we were present at the hearing) to changing Maine's conflicting rabies law so that it would no longer require a 2 year vaccination for dogs with a 3 year vaccine. Vivien Leigh and her cameraman, Josh, video taped the entire session, so it's documented.
He and his organization will apparently not be endorsing Senator Hall's disclosure legislation, why not? He hints at Senator Hall's motives for proposing this legislation and I can set the record straight -- Senator Hall is responding to constituents (my family's) legitimate concerns about overvaccination DESPITE the fact that this is a re-election year. My dog did not choose to develop a malignant tumor at his vaccination site in April, and I, for one, am impressed to have a Senator willing to serve constituents no matter what the political consequences. Senator Hall has taken a considerable risk to do the right thing for pet owners during an election year -- he knew full well this proposed disclosure legislation would bring the full wrath of the MVMA upon him. The MVMA must be terrified that pet owners will no longer opt for annual vaccinations if they learn through required disclosure that most of these same vaccines have durations of immunity of 5 years or more. Senator Hall has proposed this legislation because he is convinced there is a need for it and it will serve a large number of his constituents (the Christines are one of many, many pet-owners).
After Meadow's tumor & discovering the conflicting language in Maine's rabies immunization requirement for dogs, I contacted every legislator in Maine with a published e-mail -- Senator Hall was literally the only legislator in the entire state willing to take immediate and unequivocal action to protect pet owners. He did so at the expense of potentially alienating the mainstream veterinary community (homeopathic & holistic vets are not threatened by this legislation). It must be intimidating, and surprising, to see a politician take a strong stand on a controversial issue like this one and serve the interests of Maine's citizens and their animals rather than those of big business.
Also, for the record: my husband is a registered Republican, a fact which Senator Hall is fully aware -- Senator Hall is a Democrat.

Cheers, Kris

http://www.sunjournal.com/opinion/lette ... 815075.php

Patients first

Sunday, August 15,2004
The column by State Sen. Chris Hall (Aug. 8) on pet vaccination deserves credit for its attempt to increase public awareness of the veterinary emphasis on total wellness through annual physical exams.

However, I am concerned with implications made that veterinarians do not put our patient's interest first.

Nothing could be further from the truth. While it is true veterinarians across Maine and the nation are wrestling with recent vaccine guidelines recommended in 2003 by the American Animal Hospital Association, any reticence to fully adopt the recommendations is based on the fear of leaving our patients underprotected. A thoughtful and cautious approach is certainly called for when shifting from proven, labeled protocols to recently recommended, off-label guidelines. Veterinarians know what disease in unprotected animals looks like and we are loath to see it.

Veterinarians take our clients' trust and patients' health very seriously. Open discussion with our clients about the multitude of new diagnostic, treatment and prevention options available today is what private practice veterinarians do every day. Educating and helping our clients keep their animals at their healthiest is at the core of a strong veterinarian-client-patient relationship.

Our profession welcomes public discussion of this issue. However, we are not sure having a complex medical issue such as this placed before an overburdened Maine Legislature by a state senator in a difficult re-election campaign is the most constructive way to proceed. We are reluctant to impugn Sen. Hall's motives, but he has surely and inaccurately maligned ours.

Bill Bryant, D.V.M., president, Maine Veterinary Medical Association,

Mount Vernon
guest
 

Maine sun journal newspaper letter

Postby guest » Fri Aug 20, 2004 8:06 am

http://www.sunjournal.com/opinion/lette ... 820139.php

Vaccines

Friday, August 20,2004
In his letter to the editor (Aug. 15), Maine Veterinary Medical Association's President Bill Bryant expressed concern about veterinarians going "off label" to adopt the 3-year core vaccination frequencies recommended in 2003 by the American Animal Hospital Association and endorsed by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. In 2000, the American Association of Feline Practitioners recommended a similar 3-year protocol for cats.

Pet owners should be aware, as veterinarians are, that the government only requires manufacturers to perform duration of immunity studies on rabies vaccines for licensure. Distemper, parvovirus, panleukopenia, calicivirus, rhinotracheitis and other vaccines are not required to have duration of immunity studies to be licensed. According to Colorado State's College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital, "Yearly booster vaccine recommendations for vaccines other than rabies virus have been determined arbitrarily by manufacturers."

Bryant believes that following arbitrary manufacturers' labels is a more "cautious" approach to veterinary care than adhering to the protocols of national veterinary medical associations and all 27 veterinary colleges.

Colorado State adopted the reduced vaccination protocols "based on the lack of scientific evidence to support the current practice of annual vaccination and increasing documentation showing that overvaccinating has been associated with harmful side effects."

Maine citizens are entitled to full disclosure about pet vaccines. Failure to support state Sen. Chris Hall's vaccine disclosure legislation, coupled with failure to abandon unnecessary annual vaccinations in favor of nationally recommended triennial schedules, will undermine trust in the Maine Veterinary Medical Association and its members. They should reconsider their position.

Kris L. Christine, Alna
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