Judy Frison Shor has channeled her anger into support for the Rabies Challenge Fund.
When Peaches, a rat terrier and champion agility dog, developed skin lesions three months after her annual rabies booster shot, Mrs. Shor was challenged to find a veterinarian willing to diagnose the disease, even though they knew what it was.
Despite various approaches by various local vets, the skin disease worsened into what was ultimately life threatening for the game little dog.
At her wit's end when vasculitis caused massive unilateral leg swelling in Peaches, Judy researched "rabies vaccine" on Google to identify the symptoms and veterinary doctors who would be willing to help. This search led to studies published by well known academic veterinary doctors and labeled “Rabies Vaccine associated Ischemic Dermatopathy”.
With a referral from her local specialist, this diagnosis was confirmed by Dr. Daniel O. Morris, Matthew J. Ryan Small Animal Hospital, of the University of Pennsylvania.
Proper diagnosis and pharmaceutical treatment saved the little dog's life.
Peaches, (ADCh Southern Sands Peaches TM-B, JCH-B, *2007 USDAA Regional GP Finalist, AX, AXJ, Clean Run’s Ultimate 60 Weave Pole Breed Champion, CGC) was retired at age seven from the competitive action she loved due to Rabies Vaccine induced Ischemic Dermatopathy. She lives quietly with her owners and fur-sisters, but will most likely be medicated the rest of her days.
The cost to diagnose and treat the vaccine-related disease? $12,000.
Fired up about the cause, Judy filed a complaint of adverse reaction caused by rabies vaccine with Fort Dodge, the manufacturer. The company offered to reimburse the costs of the diagnosis in return for her silence on the matter. (Documentation to come.)
Not a chance.
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Since 1992, veterinary research scientists have proved that the duration of immunity for rabies vaccine is from five to seven years. However, the USDA, which regulates animal drugs, will not accept a serology test as proof of duration of immunity. The vaccine must be tested on live animals in order to be USDA sanctioned. Due to costs of a challenge study, rabies vaccine manufacturers have been unwilling to fund this research, so a private study has been launched.
Judy and her friends have contributed $30,000 to the cause so far.
Next month, let me introduce you to Kris Christine, founder of The Rabies Challenge Fund. She's living proof that you don't need a lot of money to make a difference in rabies law reform. You do need dogged persistence.