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Rabies Vaccine May Decrease Dog Deaths From All Causes

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By    |   Thursday, 28 September 2017 11:56 AM

While veterinarians advocate many vaccines for their four-legged patients, only one is required by law in the United States — rabies. The vaccine is very effective in preventing the fatal disease in dogs, as well as preventing it from being transmitted to humans.

Now, new research from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine found that the vaccine may have a positive impact on a dog's overall health, and decrease death from all causes.

The study found that rabies vaccination reduced the risk of death from any cause by 56 percent in dogs 0 to 3 months of age. While all dogs had decreased mortality, the percentage decrease was highest in young dogs, with the effect diminishing over time.

Dogs included in the study were from an impoverished region of South Africa, where infectious diseases, including rabies, are an ever-present threat to both humans and dogs. The researchers concluded that the decrease in mortality couldn't be explained by a reduction in deaths due to rabies alone.

"This led us to propose that rabies vaccine may have a non-specific protective effect in dogs, perhaps through boosting the immune system to provide enhanced defense against other, unrelated diseases," said researcher Dr. Darryn Knobel. "A similar phenomenon has been observed in children, although it remains to be substantiated through more definitive trials."

Knobel believes that understanding mechanisms responsible for the enhanced immunity could have implications not only for veterinary medicine but also for human medicine.

"This is a fatal disease shared by dogs and people, and the work we and Dr. Knobel have undertaken has the potential to save both human and canine lives by further exploring the findings of this study," said Dr. John Reddington, President and CEO of Morris Animal Foundation, the organization which sponsored the research.

September 28 is World Rabies Day.

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While veterinarians advocate many vaccines for their four-legged patients, only one is required by law in the United States - rabies. The vaccine is very effective in preventing the fatal disease in dogs, as well as preventing it from being transmitted to humans. Now, new...
rabies, vaccine, decrease, dog, deaths
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2017-56-28
Thursday, 28 September 2017 11:56 AM
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