The Rabies Challenge Fund is a testament to the power of the people and to the love and concern people show for their dogs. For years, the issue and implications of over vaccination have been at the forefront of concerned animal guardians’ minds. A handful of Veterinarians such as Dr. W. Jean Dodds who is Co-trustee of the Rabies Challenge Fund and Dr. Ronald Schultz, who has both donated and dedicated 7 years of his life to conduct the challenge study have been speaking out about the adverse reactions to the rabies vaccine since the 1970s.
At the heart of the issue is this question, “how long does a rabies vaccine provide immunity?" Why this is at the heart of the issue is how the Rabies Challenge Fund Trust came into existence. When drug manufacturers create a vaccine, they are only required to meet criteria set out by the USDA in order to receive licensing. That criteria does not mandate testing for maximum duration of immunity. If the drug company can complete its testing in a year, the vaccine is labeled as ‘vaccinate every year’. That does not mean that immunity only lasts for one year. There is nothing scientific about the current vaccination schedule for American domestic animals. The schedule is directed by the research, or lack of research done by the drug companies.
In turn 70 million domestic dogs and 90 million domestic cats throughout the United States are subjected to unscientific vaccination protocols; rabies laws are dictated by drug manufacturers' labels and dedicated animal guardians are paying for something that not only is unnecessary, but carries many harmful side effects (1). The rabies vaccine is the most potent of the veterinary vaccines and has been linked to adverse reactions such as 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.
In 1992 Michel Aubert and his research team conducted a French Rabies Challenge Study, demonstrating that dogs were immune to a rabies challenge 5 years after vaccination, while Dr. Schultz has demonstrated through serological studies that immunity is conferred up to 7 years post-vaccination.
The USDA will not accept foreign studies and does not consider serological studies to provide definitive proof of immunity, and they do not require vaccine manufacturers to provide long-term duration of immunity studies documenting effectiveness when licensing products. According to Kris Christine, founder and co-trustee of The Rabies Challenge Fund Trust, “Concerned dog owners have contributed the money to fund this research themselves. We want to ensure that rabies immunization laws are based upon independent, long-term scientific data.”
The Rabies Challenge Fund recently met its goal of $177,000 to fund the study's first year budget. Contributions have come from dog owners, canine groups, trainers, veterinarians and small businesses. The Rabies Challenge is a seven-year study that requires an additional $150,000 be raised annually.
Dr. Dodds states, “This is the first time in my 43 years of involvement in veterinary issues that what started as a grass-roots effort to change an outmoded regulation affecting animals will be addressed scientifically by an acknowledged expert to benefit all canine in the future.”
The total cost of this study is over $1 million and that doesn’t factor in the fact that the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine in Madison, where the study will be conducted, has waived its 48% overhead expense or that Dr. Schultz, who will over see the Challenge Study, has donated 7 years of his service.
Instead of the drug companies footing this bill, it is concerned dog lovers who are digging deep to ensure that this study is completed and that the health and wellness of their companions are protected.
Laurynn Simpson, concerned guardian of Velvet and Rabies Challenge Fund member, hits the nail on the head when she writes “To say nothing...to do nothing...stops nothing."
1) American Pet Products Manufacturers Association 2005-2006 National Pet Owners Survey
Press Release: Canine Rabies Challenge Study Beings
About the authorChristine Agro is a Clairvoyant Natural Healer with a unique approach to animal health, wellness and Spiritual understanding. Trained to work with people at the School of Natural Medicine in Boulder Co, Christine's clients began bringing her their animals when conventional methods were not helping. Christine soon realized that conventional veterinary medicine dis-empowers animals and disconnects their natural healing ability. After working with thousands of animals Christine has become an advocate for the healing rights of animals; supporting their natural healing abilities, speaking on their behalf, conveying their needs, wishes and desires.
Christine has written for Animal Wellness Magazine, Nature's Corner Magazine, has been seen on Animal Planet and is the host of Conscious Animal Radio (www.consciousanimalradio.com), a live internet call-in show. She is also the founder of Healingdog.com. Christine lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, son and their senior adopted cat Christopher.
Listen to Conscious Animal Radio live every Monday at 12 Noon EST. Access the "listen live" link at http://www.consciousanimalradio.com Shows are archived and available as a podcast.
Listen to the November 26, 2007 Conscious Animal Radio show interview with Dr. James Busby, DVM and author of "How To Afford Veterinary Care Without Mortgaging The Kids."
Listen to the September 17th Conscious Animal Radio interview with Kris Christine from the Rabies Challenge Fund Trust - http://cdagro.audioacrobat.com/download/consciousanimalradio_Kris_Christine.mp3