The current rabies vaccine law in Massachusetts has some people questioning the validity of the law when it comes to the science behind vaccines. Massachusetts law is strict when it comes to rabies.
One Brockton, Mass. woman made the decision to euthanize her dog after he was bitten by a rabid skunk, instead of quarantining him for six months, because his rabies vaccine was overdue by 10 days, according to The Enterprise.
Eileen Cushman’s 10 year old Schnauzer-mix, Clyde, was bitten by a skunk that tested positive for rabies. Because Clyde was overdue for his rabies vaccine, Cushman’s choice was to either euthanize him or quarantine him for three months, and then put him under “strict confinement” at home for three months.
Cushman decided to have Clyde euthanized, in part due to the cost of quarantine.
If Clyde’s vaccine had been within the law, he would have received a booster vaccine and been under strict confinement for 45 days.
This 10 day glitch has some up in arms, given what is known about immunology. Richard Simmonds, an emeritus professor of physiology at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, told The Enterprise that this rule is “totally ridiculous.” He claims that a pet with a vaccine that had just become overdue should be treated the same as a pet with a vaccine that is current.
Simmonds further stated that the time frame on a vaccine is “arbitrary” and that a dog who is overdue for a vaccine by 10 days is likely as immune as a dog who is almost due for a booster.
Unfortunately, the law does not see it that way.
Brockton Animal Inspector Megan Hanrahan applauded Cushman’s decision, stating that she made an informed decision. Rob Halpin, spokesman for MSPCA-Angell in Boston, reminded pet owners that it is up to them to be sure their pets are up to date on vaccinations.
There is a lot of debate in the world of vaccinations – whether to vaccinate or not vaccinate, whether boosters cause over-vaccination and whether vaccinations cause underlying issues or future problems.
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