Veterinary Fair Disclosure Legislation

Published December 2004

Dec 16, 2004

Representative Peter Rines is sponsoring precedent-setting legislation which will require veterinarians to give clients disclosure forms when prescribing medications and before vaccinating pets.

One of the world's leading veterinary vaccine research scientists, Dr. Ronald Schultz of the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, and Dr. Richard Ford of North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine will be drafting the model disclosure form. Both of these researchers were members of the American Animal Hospital Association's 15-member task force which came out with vaccination guidelines for dogs in 2003. Dr. Ford also served on the American Association of Feline Practitioners task force, which published vaccination recommendations for cats in 2000.

This legislation will ensure that pet owners receive disclosure information detailing the risks, benefits, and adverse side effects of veterinary vaccines and prescription medications, as well as the minimum durations of immunity for vaccines based on published challenge studies (in challenge studies, animals are injected with high doses of virulent virus to test immunity).

Maine citizens have been unwittingly over vaccinating their pets on the advice of veterinarians who vaccinate annually, biennially, and triennially with vaccines which actually provide immunity for several years.

For example, challenge studies by Dr. Schultz demonstrated that canine distemper vaccine has a minimum duration of immunity of seven years, and Cornell University's challenge studies showed cats were completely immune to feline panleukopenia eight years after kittenhood vaccination.

Because redundant vaccination does not boost immunity and current scientific research increasingly points to over-vaccination in triggering autoimmune and chronic disorders in animals, it is essential that pet owners be given full disclosure prior to vaccination in order to make informed choices and to be able to recognize symptoms of adverse reactions to vaccines or medications.

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