What is the Rabies Challenge Fund?

What is the Rabies Challenge Fund?

RCF13Protection against the rabies virus is an important part of US public health policy. However, the vaccine is not without risks. The rabies vaccine is associated with a high rate of adverse reactions that can lead to substantial illness and even death in some of our pets.  Because the risk of adverse reactions increases with each dose of rabies vaccine administered, the Rabies Challenge Fund is working to scientifically demonstrate that fewer life-time doses of the vaccine will provide at least equivalent protection compared with current immunization schedules.  Fewer rabies doses over a pet’s lifetime will reduce the risk of adverse reactions and reduce costs to pet owners.

The Rabies Challenge Fund is a Charitable Trust whose goal is to extend the legally required interval for rabies boosters to 5 years and then to 7 years based on the results of rabies challenge studies being conducted at the University of Wisconsin. Two well-known and respected individuals are guiding this project – Dr. Jean Dodds of Hemopet and Dr. Ronald Schultz of the University of Wisconsin.

This research is important because of the high potency of the rabies vaccine and its association with a number of serious adverse effects. These include damage to the nervous system, leading to muscular atrophy, inhibition or interruption of the nervous system  control of tissue and organ function, lack of coordination, and weakness; a variety of autoimmune diseases (an autoimmune disease is an abnormal immune response causing the body to attack its own healthy tissue) such as autoimmune hemolytic anemia and autoimmune diseases affecting the thyroid, joints, blood, eyes, skin, kidney, liver, bowel and central nervous system; serious allergic reactions such as anaphylactic shock; aggression; seizures; epilepsy; and tumors called fibrosarcomas at the injection site. Because most of these are delayed reactions occurring months or years after administration of the rabies vaccine and because these reactions can have multiple causes, their association with the rabies vaccine is often missed.

The Rabies Challenge Fund is a grassroots effort. They need your financial support to continue their important work. Visit http://www.rabieschallengefund.org/ to learn more about the Rabies Challenge Fund and click here to donate – every penny helps!

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Can Collars Cause Thyroid Damage?

Can Collars Cause Thyroid Damage?

Dog on a leashThe thyroid and salivary glands are located in the dog’s neck area. Recently, concern has been raised that these organs might be injured when sharp pressure is applied to this area by a collar. The risk is thought to be particularly high in dogs who lunge and pull when on lead. While we have not identified any documented reports of injury in this manner, those who are concerned about thyroid and salivary gland damage, particularly those whose dogs have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, might want to consider the use of a harness or ‘gentle leader’ instead of a collar when walking their dog.

Our Frankie has normal thyroid function, but can get excited and lunge when we encounter something exciting on our walks, as we did this morning when we flushed a flock of birds out of some high grass alongside the road. I think I just might switch him to a harness!

photo credit: Ask Spike

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