World-Famous Scientists Donate Services to the Rabies Challenge Fund
by Kris L. Christine, Founder and Co-Trustee
Two world-renowned giants of veterinary vaccine research -- Dr. W. Jean Dodds of Hemopet and Co-Trustee of The Rabies Challenge Fund and Dr. Ronald Schultz of the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine -- have volunteered their time to ensure that critical five and seven year rabies challenge studies are conducted in the United States. The studies are to be financed by The Rabies Challenge Fund Charitable Trust, a tax-exemption organization founded by pet vaccine disclosure advocate Kris L. Christine of Maine in 2005, and will be performed by Dr. Schultz at the University of Wisconsin. The University has waived its usual 48% overhead fee for these studies.
The concurrent challenge studies will determine the duration of immunity conveyed by the canine rabies vaccine, with the goal of extending the state-mandated interval for boosters to five, and then to seven years. According to Dr. Dodds, "This is one of the most important projects in veterinary medicine. It will benefit all dogs by providing evidence that protection from rabies vaccination lasts at least five years, thereby avoiding unnecessary revaccination with its attendant risk of debilitating adverse reactions."
"Adverse reactions to rabies vaccination can include autoimmune diseases affecting the thyroid, joints, blood, eyes, skin, kidney, liver, bowel and central nervous system, anaphylactic shock, aggression, seizures, epilepsy and fibrosarcomas at injection sites."
Scientific data indicate that vaccinating dogs against rabies every three years, as most states require, is unnecessary. Studies have shown the duration of protective immunity as measured by serum antibody titers against rabies virus to persist for seven years post-vaccination, and results of a 1992 French challenge study led by Michel Aubert demonstrated dogs were immune to rabies five years after vaccination. Researchers believe the rabies vaccine causes the most and worst adverse reactions in animals and concur that it should not be given more often than is necessary to maintain immunity.
Adverse reactions to rabies vaccination can include autoimmune diseases affecting the thyroid, joints, blood, eyes, skin, kidney, liver, bowel and central nervous system, anaphylactic shock, aggression, seizures, epilepsy and fibrosarcomas at injection sites.
Dr. Schultz states that "[s]howing that a vaccine for rabies can provide five or preferably seven years of immunity would have great significance not only in controlling rabies but more importantly in reducing the adverse vaccine reactions that can occur in dogs and cats after vaccination."
More information on The Rabies Challenge Fund and the concurrent five and seven year challenge studies it will finance can be found at the fundís newly established website designed by volunteer Andrea Brin at: Rabies Challenge Fund.org.
To date, the following breed clubs, along with many pet owners, trainers, breeders, and kennel owners have contributed to The Rabies Challenge Fund:
- Akita Club of America
- American Shih Tzu Club
- Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Nashoba Valley
- Bernese Mountain Club of SE Wisconsin
- Capital City Cocker Club
- Chesapeake, Virginia Dog Fanciers Association
- Collie Club of Georgia
- Dog Agility Racing Team of Chino
- Great River Stockdog Club
- Heart of Minnesota Great Dane Club
- Kennel Club of Buffalo
- Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation
- Kishwaukee Kennel Club
- Kuvasz Fanciers of America
- Lehigh Valley Kennel Club
- Miniature Schnauzer Club of Southern California
- Northern Illinois Schutzhund Club
- Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club of Canada
- Pacific NW Jack Russell Terrier Rescue Network
- Soft-Coated Wheaton Terrier Club
- Staffordshire Terrier Club of America
- Standard Schnauzer Club of Southern California
- Wachusett Kennel Club
- Evergreen Empire Manchester Terrier Fanciers