I hope I'm posting this in the right place... was about to tack it on to another thread but then decided it was important enough to warrant a new thread.
I just read recently that there are a few Rabies vaccines on the market that are Thimerosal Free. Thimerosal is a form of Mercury that many vaccines include as a preservative. From one of the sites I read this information, it seems as if Merial has had a Thimerosal-Free Rabies vaccine out for a few years now, although I have no idea how commonly it is used in practice or if it's one of those things you have to request.
DogAware.com Health: Vaccinations for Dogs
Thimerosal (also sometimes spelled thimersol, thimerosol or thiomersal) is a form of mercury used in most vaccines as a preservative. It is possible that thimerosal may contribute to adverse vaccine reactions. A few companies are making rabies vaccines that do not contain thimerosol. Merial makes a thimerosol-free rabies vaccine called IMRAB 3 TF (the 3 designates a 3-year vaccine, and TF stands for "thimersol free"). There is also a 1-year version, IMRAB 1 TF. Fort Dodge makes a thimerosol-free rabies vaccine called RABVAC 3 TF.
The omission of mercury doesn't make the vaccine 100% safe and I'm sure many people (probably me for one
) will still try to avoid vaccinating for as long as possible, but for those of us who MUST get the Rabies vaccine for our dogs, this is definitely something worth looking into!
The same article also talks about another "safer" vaccine alternative to the regular killed and MLV (modified-live-virus) vaccines, something called recombinant vaccines
Merial is now marketing several recombinant vaccines that are safer than either killed or modified live vaccines. The trade name is Recombitek for dogs (distemper, parvo, cononavirus, kennel cough), Purevax for cats (rabies, FLV and more). These recombinant vaccines do not use adjuvants, which are responsible for many of the side effects of vaccinations. This article by Ronald Schultz, DVM, indicates that the recombinant distemper vaccine is just as effective, or even more so in the case of overcoming maternal antibodies, than the traditional MLV (modified live) vaccine, and quite a bit safer. There is also a recombinant Lyme vaccine, but I am unsure if it is recommended, although it should be safer than the traditional Lyme vaccine (Lyme vaccines can cause a form of the disease that cannot be treated with antibiotics, and so should usually be avoided).
Again, these findings don't make vaccination completely risk-free, but for those of us who are going to be vaccinating our dogs anyways, it is definitely worth asking your vet about Thimerosal-Free and Recombinant vaccines.