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Rabies Vaccine, the Wolf and Wolf Dog

The Issue || The Facts || How You Can Help

The Issue

The controversy over the use, effectiveness and approval of the rabies vaccine for wolves and wolf dogs has been on-going for some 10 years. Meanwhile, wolf dogs as well as dogs believed to be wolf dogs and their owners have suffered. Many states and local jurisdictions have banned wolf dogs using the fact that there is no USDA approved rabies vaccine for wolves and wolf dogs. If a Wolf Dog bites, licks or scratches anyone it can be, and usually is destroyed for rabies testing. There has been little or no action taken on behalf of any local, state or federal agency to solve this "alleged" public health problem. Requests by private individuals and groups made to the USDA for resolution of this matter have been either ignored or answered by a request from the USDA that a challenge test be conducted by wolf dog owners. The USDA has been presented with insurmountable evidence that, under their own guidelines, the wolf and wolf dog should be approved for the current canine rabies vaccine without a formal challenge test. That evidence has been ignored.

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The Facts

According to the {Code of Federal Regulations} concerning rabies, animals are to be tested by "SPECIES" for vaccine approval. Specifically: USDA Code of Federal Regulations Title 9 (CFR9), Section 113.209, rabies vaccines are tested and approved according to species.

The reference "Mammal Species of the World" published by the Smithsonian which the USDA has used to approve the vaccine for other breeds of dogs, designates Wolves and Dogs as the same species. The Code of Federal Regulations (9 CFR chapter 1.1) "Animal Welfare" has defined a wofxdog as domestic.

The USDA department of Regulatory Enforcement and Animal Care, (REAC) has stated that the rabies vaccine is approved for all animals of the Species/sub-species "Canis Lupus Familiaris". Under current taxanomical classification Wolf Dogs are "Canis Lupus Familiaris".

According to Dr. Robert Miller of the USDA two formal rabies challenge studies would be necessary , this test would require a MINIMUM of 35 wolf dogs and 35 pure wolves to be infected with the rabies virus. The control group of 20 animals would not be vaccinated, they would suffer a slow painful death (all the animals are killed for examination). Dr. Miller would like us to pay for tests he believes are necessary at an estimated minimum cost of $300,000. If there were truly a public health issue involved wouldn't the USDA be doing this challenge? After all they pumped more than a million dollars into the rabies bait program for raccoon and fox.

The USDA/APHIS/REAC in December 1994 approved the current canine rabies vaccine for the Dingo, Cannan Dog, New Guinea Singing Dog and the Carolina Dog. Why? Their own research showed they had been re-classified as Canis Lupus Familiaris per the publication, "Mammal Species of the World".

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Do Your Part to Save Your Pet

The USDA has requested a safety study on wolves and wolf dogs in order to show that they respond similarly to modified live vaccines (other than rabies), such as those for distemper, parvovirus, etc. The Wolf Dog Coalition, through Congressman Wolf's office has reached an agreement with USDA / APHIS to conduct a MLV safety study in wolves and wolf dogs. The purpose of the study is to provide data that will allow the USDA to designate wolves and dogs as the same species for the purposes of vaccine approval.

We are currently [ read update ] collecting data for this study and welcome help from both wolf and dog lovers everywhere. If you are able to submit vaccination records for wolves or wolf dogs 50% or greater wolf, please contact us to request the data forms. We will be glad to provide you with the required forms and a synopsis to take to your veterinarian. We will be happy to send them to any interested parties via snail mail or in PDF format.

Take a bite out of rabies!


For more information on the current status of canine rabies vaccine approval for usage in all canines, please visit the National Wolfdog Alliance's Rabies Vaccine Status and History page. Or contact their Legislative Committee by e-mailing: legislation@wolfdogalliance.org.

To learn more about how this issue can effect your dog, read Tucker's Story, by Ron White.

Copyright © 1996-2002 Wolf Dog Coalition. Permission to reprint this page in its entirety granted.

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