About the Rabies Challenge Fund

Research has demonstrated that overvaccination can cause harmful adverse effects in dogs. Immunologically, the rabies vaccine is the most potent of the veterinary vaccines and associated with significant adverse reactions such as polyneuropathy resulting in muscular atrophy, inhibition or interruption of neuronal control of tissue and organ function, incoordination, and weakness, auto-immune hemolytic anemia, 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 are all linked to the rabies vaccine. It is medically unsound for this vaccine to be given more often than is necessary to maintain immunity, yet scientific research strongly indicates that the 3 year booster interval required by state laws may be unnecessary.

French challenge study results published in 1992 showed that dogs were immune to rabies 5 years after vaccination and Dr. Ronald Schultz’s serological studies proved that dogs have antibody titer counts at levels known to confer immunity to rabies 7 years after vaccination.

The goal of The Rabies Challenge Fund Charitable Trust is to extend the legally required interval for rabies boosters to 5 and then 7 years by financing the concurrent 5 and 7 year rabies challenge studies at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine and being conducted according to the USDA’s vaccine licensing code, Title 9 Section 113.209 by Dr. Ronald Schultz.

The Vision of a Dog Lover and the Dedication of Two Renowned Veterinarians

In early 2004, Kris Christine’s beloved six-year-old Labrador Retriever, Meadow, developed a cancerous mast cell tumor directly on the site of his most recent rabies vaccination. His cancer and subsequent death led to Kris founding The Rabies Challenge Fund and advocating for states to adopt a 3 year rabies protocol.

Dr. W. Jean Dodds serves as Co-Trustee of the Fund and supervisor of the project. A world-renowned veterinary research scientist in the fields of hematology, immunology, endocrinology, as well as a practicing clinician, Dr. Dodds established Hemopet, the first nonprofit national blood bank, in 1986.

Dr. Ronald Schultz, one of the world’s leading veterinary vaccine experts who is Chair of the Pathobiological Sciences Department and has been conducting vaccine challenge studies since the 1970’s, is performing the research at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine.

Contributions to date have come primarily from kennel clubs and private individuals. The University of Wisconsin has donated all of the necessary overhead costs for these studies, which normally amount to 48% of the direct research costs. Furthermore, Dr. Schultz, the Principal Investigator, has volunteered his time in conducting the research. Dr. Dodds and her staff at Hemopet and Kris Christine are donating their efforts as well. The only monies used from the pre-grant funds were IRS fees associated with applying for non-profit status. All other monies donated to The Rabies Challenge Fund Charitable Trust go directly to funding these studies.