Protection 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!