Imagine with me for a minute 25 million dogs and these dogs are responsible for transmitting rabies and the resultant deaths of over 20,000 human beings.
The place, India in 2015.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the PET | TAO Holistic Pet Products Podcast.
I’m your host Dr. Marc Smith, 20 year practicing veterinarian and co-creator of PET | TAO Holistic Pet Products.
Rabies is a somewhat of a mundane topic. You see, in the United States, veterinarians vaccinate rabies and we’ve pretty much kept it under control, but this sure isn’t the case globally.
Some of these statistics are startling. They’re baffling to me.
In fact, I didn’t know many of these statistics, even though I’m on the frontline each and every day of preventing this disease in both your pets and in the human population.
You see in general practice we vaccinate dogs for rabies.
We either vaccinate them yearly, we vaccinate them every three years where local laws and local ordinances dictate we can, or if we’re lucky enough, we can pull titers on these pets that have had a previous vaccination for rabies to document and tell us whether or not they have protective immunity to the rabies virus.
A good thing about titers is that we don’t over-vaccinate your pets.
The bad thing about titers is that they cost you more money.
However, in the United States today we have been very successful at virtually eliminating the risk of rabies in your pets and ultimately a threat of rabies in you.
This isn’t the case around the globe. In fact, 160 people, yes 160, die each and every day across the globe from the rabies virus. Most of these cases are due from our best friends who bite unsuspecting victims. If you can do the math that is upwards of 60,000 people per year.
Quite baffling, at least to me.
Another startling statistic is the economic losses due to rabies virus.
In 2015 the economic losses were estimated to be around 8.6 billion dollars.
Generally these losses were due to premature death, spending on post-exposure vaccination, and lost income to victims of animal bites.
Most of the rabies transmission occurs in rural areas and countries that are poor or impoverished.
Countries such as India. Continents such as Africa and Asia.
The reason why this is is because these animals, these dogs and cats, are not vaccinated.
One reason they’re not vaccinated properly is because of the idea that the rabies vaccine itself has to be refrigerated.
You see in practice each and every day we pull our rabies virus vaccine out of a refrigerator.
The refrigerator typically runs about 35 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
The alarming thing about this is that research done by Washington State University published just last month says that we don’t really need to keep our vaccinations or rabies vaccinations at 35 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
In fact, their research concluded that rabies virus vaccines kept at 77 degrees Celsius, in fact, work for upwards of six months and vaccine kept in the 80’s will work for three months.
The important thing to know is that because of this research when teams of people go into these impoverished rural areas to vaccinate dogs and cats they don’t need to cool their rabies vaccine.
This allows us, and these researchers, and veterinarians, and public health officials the flexibility to vaccinate more pets without, necessarily, having the resources available to keep the vaccine cool like we once thought it had to be.
Therefore, we can prevent more of these startling statistics and more of these causalities from happening than what we ever thought we could.
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So long and we will see you next time.