By: Norma Bennett Woolf  Date: 01/9/2012 Category: | Canine Issues |

Owners of wolfdogs received good news from the US Department of Agriculture: after reviewing evidence that rabies and other vaccines work in wolfdogs, USDA has decided to add these canines to its vaccination regulations.

The agency will accept public comments until November 29 on its proposal to include wolfdogs in its definition of canines that can be protected by current vaccination protocols.

The September 28 Federal Register carries the proposal from USDA to amend the drug regulations by defining "dog" as "all members of the species Canis familiaris, Canis lupus, or any dog-wolf cross."

Wolfdog owners and fanciers have long pushed for acknowledgement that rabies vaccines are effective in their animals, but USDA has been reluctant to add wolfdogs to the canine vaccine protocol because this and other vaccines have not been tested in these animals.

Complicating matters was the designation of wolves and dogs as separate species until 1993 when the American Society of Mammalogists reclassified them as the same species. Wolfdog owners asked again for government approval of vaccination in their animals, but they were again turned down pending collection of data to show that the vaccines are safe for wolf-dog crosses.

Now the evidence has been presented, USDA said in its background document. Data indicating that 216 wolves and 460 dog-wolf crosses were successfully vaccinated with various modified live vaccines was turned in by wolfdog owners, and drug manufacturers reported that their products have been used extensively in wolves and wolf-dog crosses with no reported reactions.

If the proposal is approved, vaccine manufacturers will be allowed to recommend their products for use in wolves and wolfdogs without further testing. However, if they wish to add this information to product labels, USDA must approve the new label.

About The Author

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Editor and Writer for the National Animal Interest Alliance.

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