Day 8: Best conversation I had this week - Rabies vaccination, anyone?

Try writing script-style (or with dialogue) today to recap an awesome conversation you had this week.

I've had a blessedly quiet week.  I haven't had many conversations and at first I didn't think a single one could be considered  "awesome."  Then I checked my trusty and saw that one conversation could indeed be awesome in the sense of the red synonyms to "awesome," below: 

*informal/non-formal usage
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: amazing
Synonyms: alarming, astonishing, awe-inspiring, awful, beautiful, breathtaking, daunting, dreadful, exalted, fearful, fearsome, formidable, frantic, frightening, grand, hairy*, horrible, horrifying, imposing, impressive, intimidating, magnificent, majestic, mean, mind-blowing*, moving, nervous, overwhelming, real gone, shocking, something else, striking, stunning, stupefying, terrible, terrifying, wonderful, wondrous, zero cool

So here's the background for this awesome conversation.  It was actually a telephone conversation with several different people on the topic of rabies shots for my pets.  We have not found a vet in our new location yet so I was making some calls trying to find one who would do a three year rabies shot, like our old vet, Dr. Fred Freeland at Pet Partners in Albany, GA did for us.  I had already done some research online and found that the law regarding rabies vaccinations for pets in the state of Georgia is on a county by county basis.  That means that each of the 159 counties in Georgia has their own law about rabies vaccinations.  I had also found a reference online to the county I live in now that indicated that the veterinary professionals in this area are themselves confused about what the law is regarding rabies vaccinations in this county. 

First I called a local vet's (LV) office in our new area.

Me:  Hi, I'm looking for a vet that will do a three year rabies vaccination for our pets.

LV:  What?

Me:  A three year vaccination as opposed to one that only lasts for one year.

LV:  Oh.  We don't do that.

Me: Do you know if any of the vets in the county do?

LV:  No... I don't know.

Me: OK, thanks.

In my research prior to this phone call I had also already found out that each county's law regarding rabies vaccination is handled in the County Health Department, Environmental Health/Disease Control area.  So I called the Health Department in my county and asked to speak with someone in Environmental Health/Disease Control (EH/DC).  Here's how that conversation went.

Me:  I'm trying to find out what the law is regarding rabies vaccination in this county.

EH/DC:  What do you want to know?

Me:  If three year rabies shots are allowed.

EH/DC:  No, we only do the one year.  

Me:  Really?  Where is that law written.  I would like to look at it.

EH/DC: We go by the state code and the state code says one year.

Me:  Where can I look at a copy of that?

EH/DC:  Ummm... it's online somewhere, let me see if I can find that...

Me:  What's it called?

EH/DC:  The Official Code of Georgia, Section 3119-1.  But if your pet did have a three year vaccination and it bit someone more than a year after the shot, your pet would have to be quarantined.  

Me:  ??????  My dog doesn't bite.

EH/DC:  But IF it did...

We went on like that for a while more then I thanked her and hung up.  In her defense I will say that I was able to find a copy of the law/code online with the information she gave me.  It's here: It says it's up to the counties "to adopt and promulgate rules and regulations requiring canines and felines to be inoculated against rabies and to prescribe the intervals and means of inoculation, the fees to be paid in county sponsored clinics, that procedures be in compliance with the recommendations of the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians for identifying inoculated canines and felines, and all other procedures applicable thereto." 

So the county is telling me they follow the state code and the state code says it's up to the county.

They have not heard the last from me on this.

What I really needed right now was heart worm medication for our dog; I was just trying to get the info about vaccinations so we would be ready with a vet in July when it's time for our pets' annual exams.  Somewhere along the line I got the idea to call our old vet and see if they would mail us the heart worm medicine so we wouldn't have to pay for an exam fee at a new vet before it's time for Miley the dog's annual exam (another law - vets can't prescribe medicine without seeing the "patient.")  They would and they did mail the medicine.

Here's the pertinent part of the conversation with the lady at our old vet's (OV) office.

Me:  I've been trying to find a vet in the new county we live in who will do a three year rabies vaccination like Dr. Freeland does but I haven't been able to find one.  The County Health Department here is telling me that they go by the state code and that it specifies a one year vaccination, but I can't find a copy of the law to look at it myself.

OV:  The state code says the county can go either way, with a one year or the three year.  

Me:  That's interesting.  I haven't been able to find anyone in this county who could tell me that.  Even the person at the County Health Department Environmental Health/Disease Control office told me that the state code says one year.

OV:  Laughs.  It's confusing and it's crazy because our pets don't need all of that medicine year after year.  It's hard to find anyone who will do the three year.  Dr. Freeland is the only one in this county who does.

Me:  Maybe we'll just have to bring the animals to you for their annuals!

We went on for awhile more with her commiserating with my plight.  When I got off the phone and talked to my mom/housemate about it, she pointed out that we need to have a vet here in case of emergency.  So I will continue my search for a local vet who is intelligent and free-thinking enough, and is willing to let go of some of his/her profits from these annual vaccinations in the interest of the health of my pets.

FYI, there is a non-profit organization called the Rabies Challenge Fund that seeks to change rabies vaccination laws in our nation to a reasonable and research-backed time requirement.
"Research has demonstrated that over-vaccination can cause harmful adverse effects in dogs."
So this exercise in writing has really been about ICI in pets caused by the meds we give them to supposedly keep them healthy.  Funny how everything seems to come back around to this blog topic eventually...


  1. I just happened upon your blog, I know longer live in GA, but was the Office Manager of an Animal Hospital in N. Ga for 8 yrs. We did 3 Yr Rabies vaccinations per owners request at our office. Questions to ask your environmental health agent:
    *If my dog does bite someone and is vaccinated with the 1 yr vaccine, what would the protocol be? Chances are your pet would still have to be quarantined even if current on vaccinations.
    *Do you recognize titers as proof of vaccination? Your vet, whomoever you choose, can run bloodwork to check for titers of the Rabies vaccination. However, most Health Dept's won't recognize that as a "current" vaccination status.

    It sounds like to me, you should use your best judgement for vaccinating your dog. If your dog was an outside dog and never came inside, ran loose and exposed to all sorts of wildlife and dangers, then I would say do a 1 yr. But, if he's inside and you walk him and he has no interaction with wild animals, then stick to the 3 yr. In my experience with GA laws, there is no follow up or anyone checking anyways. Do what's best for your pet.
    *If the Vet you find and like doesn't carry 3 yr vaccines, ask them if one of their Reps could get them just 1, usually they can do this if they are a good rep. Merial Reps are pretty good about this sort of thing- ask for IMRAB 3 (Merial) or Defensor 3 (PFizer)

  2. Maybe more research is needed as the 1yr and 3yr are the same amount of stuff in the bottle I was told this by my vet


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