Rabies Vaccine Research — Important (Exciting) News!

Written by Jan on July 18, 2014 – 10:22 am

hyposThe Rabies Challenge Fund is your dog’s best hope of avoiding unnecessary rabies vaccination — thanks to Fund Founders Kris Christine and pioneering veterinarian Dr. W. Jean Dodds.  With principal investigation led by world-renowned vaccination scientist, Dr. Ronald Schultz, they have been working tirelessly using USDA protocols to prove that the vaccine gives protection for 5, then 7 years, instead of the current 3.

Perhaps even more importantly, they hope to determine a rabies titer standard so that a simple blood test can legally prove immunity. Because there hasn’t been a legal USDA titer standard, blood titer results have not been allowed for licensing purpose. They/we hope to change this.

Thanks to the generosity of dog lovers everywhere, this all-volunteer charitable endeavor is rounding the turn for the home stretch —  but the Fund needs your help to raise the money for the challenge. Two anonymous donors have announced a $12,500 gift to match donations dollar for dollar. Donations up to that amount will in effect be doubled.

I have long been a Friend of the Fund. My beloved Jiggy developed autoimmune liver disease, and ultimately liver and intestinal cancers, after rabies vaccination.  If you doubt the damage that can be done by this vaccine, read the heartbreaking stories at The Rabies Vaccine and Your Dog: Side Effects.

Please help us complete this great study. Thanks for any support you can give. — Jan Rasmusen

from the Rabies Challenge Fund


The Rabies Challenge Fund has just received the commitment from a USDA-approved facility to perform the first of the challenge phases of our 5 and 7-year studies. This rabies research was undertaken to determine, by challenge, the vaccine’s long-term duration of immunity in dogs and to establish the world’s first canine rabies titer standard.

Fees for this first challenge, slated to begin later this year, will involve 15 of the study dogs and will cost $100,000. If successful, two subsequent challenges of 15 dogs each will be conducted in order to meet the USDA rabies vaccine licensing requirements.  These results, which will have been obtained using the same federal standard upon which all currently licensed rabies vaccines and rabies laws and regulations are based, should establish the scientific foundation upon which the legally required rabies booster intervals for dogs can be extended to 5 or 7 years. Further, for the first time, our accumulated rabies titer data should permit incorporating clauses pertaining to rabies titers into the existing laws.

Currently, The Rabies Challenge Fund will need to raise an additional $24,847 to cover the challenge facility fees.  We ask that our donors maintain their generous levels of support through this critical challenge phase, so that the results to benefit all dogs can be available in early 2015.

$12,500 Matching Gift to The Rabies Challenge Fund

Two anonymous dog lovers have announced a generous $12,500 matching  gift to The Rabies Challenge Fund to help raise the additional funds needed to perform the first of the challenge phases of our research. Beginning today, these supporters will match every dollar donated up  to $12,500. Please consider doubling a donation by taking advantage of this charitable gift.

Tax-exempt donations can be made with a credit card here:
http://www.rabieschallengefund.org/donate/donate-to-the-fund or mailed to The Rabies Challenge Fund, c/o Hemopet, 11561 Salinaz
Avenue, Garden Grove, CA 92843.

Thank you for your support!

Related Articles

Summary of The Rabies Challenge Fund Duration of Immunity Study
The Rabies Vaccine and Your Dog: Side Effects
Rabies Vaccination: 13 Ways to Vaccinate More Safely
Rabies Vaccination Caution: A Veterinarian Speaks Out
Rabies Vaccination Medical Exemptions for Unhealthy Dogs
AVMA Passes a Rabies Vaccination Waiver Recommendation
Does Your State Permit Rabies Vaccination Medical Exemptions?
Vaccination Reactions Can Mimic Disease Symptoms Rabies Vaccination: Caution! The Devil is in the Details

Tags: dogs, exemptions, rabies, rabies shots, rabies vaccines
Posted under Medical Exemptions from Rabies Shots, Rabies Shots, Titer Testing, Uncategorized, Vaccination | No Comments » | Email This Post

Does Your State Permit Rabies Vaccination Medical Exemptions?

Written by Jan on March 5, 2012 – 12:23 pm

Updated 7/13: You and your veterinarian both agree: your dog is too ill to be vaccinated. Animal Control insists that you vaccinate against rabies.  What should you do? Kris Christine, Founder of the Rabies Challenge Fund, has been instrumental in helping to change state laws to allow rabies vaccination medical exemptions for unhealthy dogs!  See below the language of the various state laws (supplied by Kris). If your state isn’t listed, please change the law! Virtually every exemption was brought about by concerned pet parents and their veterinarians not wanting to vaccinate a health-compromised pet.

Read more »

Tags: avoid, illness, rabbies, rabies, shot, shots, sickness, Vaccination, vaccine
Posted under Medical Exemptions from Rabies Shots, Rabies Shots, Uncategorized, Vaccination | 33 Comments » | Email This Post

Rabies Vaccination: Caution! The Devil is in the Details

Written by Jan on August 23, 2011 – 12:01 am

It’s that time again: time for your dog to get her rabies shot. Wait! Proceed with caution. This is a serious medical procedure. And no, you can’t just leave it to your vet.  Please read on for answers to questions you may not even have thought to ask.

How long do rabies vaccines last?  The “three-year” vaccine has been proven by vaccine manufacturers, to the satisfaction of the US Department of Agriculture, to be effective for at least three years.  Despite this, many veterinarians vaccinate every one or two years. In fact, in a recent article by Edie Lau for the Veterinary Information News Service, the Vice-President of the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association admitted that he gives a “3 year” rabies vaccine every 2 years!  Surely, these vets have seen the “3” on the label.  Or have read the 1992 French study proving five year immunity, or the blood studies suggesting seven or more years immunity. The Rabies Challenge Fund (a nonprofit funded solely by dog lovers) expects to confirm five year immunity in the US by November 2012 and seven years immunity two years later. 

Why is vaccinating more often than required a problem? In addition to the unnecessary expense for the office visit and innoculations, this shot can be dangerous for your dog.  According to a 2008 Report: “Rabies vaccines are the most common group of biological products identified in adverse event reports received by the USDA’s Center for Veterinary Biologics (CVB).”

Adverse reactions, by percentage reported, include: Vomiting-28.1%; facial swelling-26.3%; injection site swelling or lump-19.4%; lethargy-12%; urticaria-10.1%; circulatory shock-8.3%; injection site pain-7.4%; pruritus-7.4%; injection site alopecia or hair loss-6.9%; death-5.5%; lack of consciousness-5.5; diarrhea-4.6%; hypersensitivity (not specified)-4.6%; fever-4.1%;, anaphylaxis-2.8%; ataxia-2.8%; lameness-2.8%; general signs of pain-2.3%; hyperactivity-2.3%; injection site scab or crust-2.3%;, muscle tremor-2.3%; tachycardia-2.3%; and thrombocytopenia-2.3%.

Even adverse reactions occuring within several days of vaccination are reported only an estimated 1% of the time (according to a former FDA official). Most long-term reactions are not reported at all — or even recognized. Long-term studies using a large number of dogs are not performed because of the expense. Long-term reactions, to name just some, include injection-site and other tumors, autoimmune diseases, lack of rear end coordination and seizures. Read the comments on my rabies vaccine reactions page for reactions reported by readers of this blog. And see other reactions reported by this holistic veterinarian.

Do you have a knowledgeable vet? Has your vet informed you of the potential health risks of the rabies vaccine?  Has your vet told you about the legal requirements?  Or explained about the possibility of a medical exemption for your health compromised dog? If not, why?

Why would vets (and localities) vaccinate more often than legally and medically required? Perhaps because of increased revenue from county license fees and vet visits, or ignorance of current laws, or fear that clients can’t be trusted to vaccinate on time. To my mind, however, vaccinating more often than legally required, and more often than manufacturers recommend, without informing clients of the law, manufacturer recommendations and potential health risks, is unethical and a violation of the legal doctrine of informed consent. It may also be consumer fraud.  

Why is there a one-year vaccine and a three-year vaccine?  World-renowned vaccination expert Dr. Ron Schultz, whose studies have been the basis for guidelines for the WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association), AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association), AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) and other organizations confirmed this in our  vaccination DVD (see below). In his report “What Everyone Needs to Know About Canine Vaccines and Vaccination Programshe wrote: “There is no benefit from annual rabies vaccination and most one year rabies products are similar or identical to the 3-year products with regard to duration of immunity and effectiveness.”

Ms. Lau wrote in her article, “Manufacturers’ representatives say a key distinction between most one- and three-year rabies vaccines is the testing they undergo to demonstrate the duration for which they confer immunity.” She added: “Some one- and three-year formulations do differ, but exactly in what ways is considered a trade secret.” 

That is, manufacturers test basically the same formulation for one year for the one-year shot, then stop the study. The three-year vaccine study is stopped at three years. How long these vaccines might potentially last is unknown. And manufacturer’s have no incentive to find out.

Is the one-year shot safer than the three-year?  No. In fact, it’s probably more dangerous because it has to be given much more often.

Why label the vaccine “one-year” if it really lasts three years? In short, to simplify paper work. The USDA requires an initial shot followed by another a year later.  That is, one-year shots require a “booster” a year later; three year shots require boosters three years later.The different labels make record keeping easier.

At present, every state in the US requires an initial “one-year” shot (around 3-6 months of age) followed a year later by the three-year vaccine, with revaccination  every three years thereafter.  

What you need to know about the two rabies vaccines:

  • If you give the one-year vaccine when the three-year vaccine is due, you will have to vaccinate one year later even if the vaccines are identical.
  • If you can’t prove the one-year vaccine was followed by the three-year vaccine a year later, or if a three-year wasn’t followed by another within three years, you will have to start all over again.
  • Vets lose records and make errors. Check the vaccine label BEFORE your dog is vaccinated and check the license paperwork and vet notes immediately afterward. Paperwork, not reality, rules.
  • If you are even one day late with the vaccine, and your dog bites someone, your local Animal Control will control your dog’s fate. They can mandate in-house quarantine or in-shelter quarantine or even euthanasia — depending on where you live. Proof of  strong antibody titers is not a legal substiture for vaccination paperwork.
  • A licensed veterinarian must give the innoculation and provide you with accurate paperwork. Otherwise, your dog will require revaccination.
  • Give the rabies shot 3-4 weeks apart from the distemper/parvovirus booster or any other vaccine, heartworm med, flea med, etc. Failure to do so will greatly increase the likelihood of a rabies reaction.
  • According to manufacturer’s label recommendations, only healthy dogs should be vaccinated. if your dog has a documented history of health problems, or problems with this or any other vaccines, you may be able to get a special exemptiono or postponement  from your local Animal Control.  (Consult your vet or local animal control for exemption requirements; exemption availability varies from locale to locale. Willingness to request an exemption varies from vet to vet. Again, you may have to vet shop.)

Which brand should you use?  All of the US brands used “killed” vaccines, not “modified live” vaccines.  A “modified live” vaccine would be too dangerous as sometimes, although rarely, it can cause the disease it is meant to prevent. 

Many of my veterinarian friends mostly recommend the Merial IMRAB TF 1 or 3 year. For cats, the Merial PUREVAX Feline Rabies.  But remember, all rabies vaccines have the potential of causing serious adverse reactions.  And some animals will react differently to different vaccines. 

“TF” stands for thimerosol free, that is, free of a mercury adjuvant.  Mercury is used as a preservative in vaccines, and can be present even if it is not on the label.  The ingredients are part of the proprietary stew. Many experts believe it to be dangerous. Note: Several manufacturers offer thimerosol-free rabies vaccines.

Unfortunately, most vets carry only one brand and it’s probably not thimerosol free. In larger practices, some of the vets may not even like the brand they carry. It is often selected by price, because the senior partner or corporate buyer like it and/or because one manufacturer’s rep does a better job than another. You cannot buy the brand you want and vaccinate yourself.  Most vets won’t even order the brand you want if you offer to pay for a whole case.

How do you get the brand you want? Find another vet.

So, as you see, rabies vaccination is a complicated, potentially dangerous, procedure. Educate your self and proceed with caution.  

Unless your dog is granted a rabies vaccination exemption, you are legally required to vaccinate.  Vaccination with any vaccine is serious business. Your dog’s future health, and even her life, may be at stake. Vaccinate cautiously.

***   Renowned pet vaccination scientists Drs. Jean Dodds and Ron Schultz spoke at my Safer Pet Vaccination Benefit Seminar in 2010.  Click here to purchase a DVD of the event, the proceeds of which benefit the Rabies Challenge Fund.

Other articles of interest:

Rabies Vaccination Medical Exemptions for Unhealthy Dogs
Rabies Vaccination: 13 Ways to Vaccinate More Safely
What to Do When Your Dog Has a Vaccine Reaction

Posted under Medical Exemptions from Rabies Shots, Rabies Shots, Uncategorized, Vaccination, Vaccine Reactions | 39 Comments » | Email This Post

Rabies Vaccination Medical Exemptions for Unhealthy Dogs

Written by Jan on June 15, 2010 – 10:42 am

Note: This letter by Dr. Jean Dodds is important to everyone living in a state (including California) that does not allow medical exemptions from rabies vaccination even if  vaccination may kill the animal.  See the rabies laws in the US, plus the states offering medical exemptions, at www.dogs4dogs.com/rabies-laws  PERMISSION TO CROSS POST.

California is currently considering AB2000, a bill to allow dogs with health problems an exemption to rabies vaccination until their health improves enough to get the vaccine. Early on this bill had a quarantine clause which was removed because of public outcry. This law, called Molly’s Law because Molly’s owners asked for an exemption that was not allowed, is supported by me and by the Rabies Challenge Fund.  The Concerned Dog Owners of California, another supportive group, report that AB2000 is supported by the California Veterinary Medical Association, Save Our Dogs, PetPac, HSUS, ASPCA  and dog owners all over the state.  However, the California of Public Health has recently come out against it.  Below is Dr. Jean Dodds’ response to their letter. It is posted here with Dr. Dodds’ permission. Read more »

Tags: AB 2000, AB2000, dogs, exemptions, Jean Dodds, medical, rabies, Rabies Challenge Fund, rabies law, rabies shot, rabies vaccine, Safety, sick dogs
Posted under Medical Exemptions from Rabies Shots, Rabies Shots, Vaccination | 26 Comments » | Email This Post