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Spotlight on: Rabies Challenge Fund

Who is the Rabies Challenge Fund?
The Rabies Challenge Fund is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization studying the duration of immunity conveyed by rabies vaccines. The Rabies Challenge Fund Charitable Trust will determine the duration of immunity conveyed by rabies vaccines. The goal is to extend the required interval for rabies boosters to 5 and then to 7 years.

Why Challenge Current Rabies Vaccine Policy? Rabies vaccination is required by law in nearly all areas. Even though protection from rabies is documented to last at least three years, current law in some states or areas still requires that boosters be given annually or biannually rather than the standard policy of every three years. However, vaccination against rabies virus is occasionally associated with debilitating adverse effects. According to the CDC domestic animals account for less than 10% of the reported rabies cases, with cats, cattle, and dogs most often reported rabid. 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. By validating the 'true' life of rabies virus immunity and moving to five and hopefully seven years, we will decrease the risk of adverse reactions in our animals and minimize their repeated exposure to foreign substances. Killed vaccines like those for rabies virus can trigger both immediate and delayed adverse vaccine reactions (termed "vaccinosis"). While there may be immediate hypersensitivity reactions, other acute events tend to occur 24-72 hours afterwards, or up to 45 days later in the case of delayed reactions.

Reactions that have been documented include:

* Behavior changes such as aggression and separation anxiety
* Obsessive behavior,self-mutilation, tail chewing
* Pica - eating wood, stones, earth, stool
* Destructive behavior, shredding bedding
* Seizures, epilepsy
* Fibrosarcomas at injection site
* Autoimmune diseases such as those affecting bone marrow and blood cells, joints, eyes, skin, kidney, liver, bowel and central nervous system
* Muscular weakness and or atrophy
* Chronic digestive problems

The story behind the Rabies Challenge Fund

Kris L,Christine, co-founder of the Rabies Challenge Fund, started her campaign in 2004 after her dog Meadow became sick with cancer following his biennial rabies shot. At the time the stat where she lived required dogs to receive rabies boosters every two years.

Two months after Christine gave her dog his rabies booster Meadow developed a lump on the leg where he got the shot. Veterinarians checked Meadow twice, then the third time the yellow Labrador was diagnosed with a mast cell tumor.

“I could still see the syringe hole in the center of the tumor,” Christine said. “It looked like a little volcano.”

The cancer spread to his lymph nodes, and four year after receiving his booster Meadow succumbed to the cancer. Meadow isn't alone in developing injection site fibro sarcoma in fact there are several other life threatening conditions that can result from the rabies vaccination including autoimmune diseases epilepsy and others.

Christine petitioned her home state to change the two-year rule to three when she sh received the biopsy results from Meadow. State officials eventually changed the law. Convinced that dogs are being over-vaccinated. It was at that time in 2007 that Christine teamed with veterinarians W. Jean Dodds and Ronald Schultz to form the Rabies Challenge Fund as she saw she could help countless pets and their owners from going through the heart break she went through and the cancer that Meadow endured but she would need proof.

Since its inception in 2007 the Rabies Challenge Fund has been able to convince legislators in all 50 states to change the rabies protocol in their states to every three years. So why is it that some cities still require vaccinations more often?

All vaccinations can cause adverse life threatening reaction in our pets but the three co-founders Christine Dr. Jean Dodds and Dr. Schultz are working with the rabies vaccination because it is mandated by law in the US the problem is there is no National Protocol for a vaccination schedule. it is the hope of the Rabies Challenge Fund to prove the need for a longer duration between boosters and to make it law around the country.

The other reason they chose to study just the rabies vaccination is because Rabies vaccines differ from vaccines such as those for hepatitis and parvo because the rabies vaccine uses killed viruses. Vaccines for hepatitis and parvo have modified live viruses so they spark life-time immunity in recipients, Christine said. But the killed rabies viruses don’t illicit a strong immunological response, so manufacturers add inflammatory agents such as aluminum salts to enhance the immunological responses. However, Christine said the World Health Organization labeled the additives in rabies vaccines as carcinogens. Though to be fair not every manufacturere uses the same additives in their vaccinations.

Veterinarian Hematologist W. Jean Dodds has often heard objections to the challenge study which does involve the use of 80 dogs half of which are in the 5 year study and the other half are in the seven year study. She and fellow veterinarian Ron Schultz have worked in the field for 40 years, and she has raised questions about problems vaccines can pose since the 1970s. A mandatory rabies vaccination can affect an older, sick dog unless the dog gets a waiver. Less frequent rabies shots will allow younger, stronger dogs to get the booster and then avoid them in their senior years when their immune system and health are more at risk.

Dogs have less risks of getting rabies since 2007, when canine rabies ceased to exist in the U.S. Dogs can still contract rabies from wild animals. No one at the Challenge Fund is saying to do away with canine vaccinations but they would like to see vaccination protocol to be based on the science of how long the vaccinations provide immunity and not how often the drug companies would like you to have to pay for the vaccination.

Its scary to think that Davinia and Indiana at 15lbs give or take a few ounces get the same dose of the vaccination or booster as dogs that weigh 100lbs+. If they have immunity against the diseases for several years I wouldn't want to subject their little bodies to all of those toxins if it wasn't necessary. We need to be educated animal owners so we can make decisions that will benefit our animals health not hurt it.

The Rabies Challenge Fund will have a monthly spotlight on this blog to hopefully educate and inform about vaccination protocol and what new information has been found.ai