HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut appeals court on Friday upheld state sanctions against a veterinarian for giving half doses of rabies vaccines to smaller dogs, a practice he says is safer but state officials say is dangerous.
A three-judge panel of the Appellate Court, the state’s second-highest court, unanimously dismissed an appeal of the sanctions by John Robb, a veterinarian who now practices in Newtown. A message seeking comment was left for Robb on Friday.
In 2017, the Connecticut Board of Veterinary Medicine placed Robb’s license on probation for 25 years, banned him from administering rabies vaccines to animals during the entire probationary period and ordered Robb’s practice to be supervised and undergo random audits.
The board found Robb failed to follow state mandates by giving dogs under 50 pounds a half dose of the rabies vaccine instead of the full dose that is supposed to be administered per the manufacturer’s directions. The board also said Robb failed to get consent from dog owners to give the half doses instead of the full ones.
The board said giving half doses of the vaccine to dogs endangered their lives and the lives of people around them by giving them less protection against rabies, which is potentially fatal to humans.
Officials said the violations occurred from July 2010 through February 2012 when Robb was working at the Banfield Pet Hospital in Stamford.
In court documents, Robb said he was following his Hippocratic oath to not harm animals in his care. He said full doses of the vaccine can cause serious side effects and potentially death for smaller dogs. He said the half doses gave the smaller dogs immunity from rabies and none of the dogs in his care were harmed because of that.
Robb appealed the sanctions to a trial court, which upheld the board. Robb then appealed to the Appellate Court. It wasn’t immediately clear if he planned to appeal again to the state Supreme Court.