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Dogs to be injected with Rabies in a study...VETS WILL SUPPORT THIS???

November 24th, 2005, 07:05 PM
Thought many of you would be interested in this

Challenging the rabies vaccine
Denise Flaim
Animal House

September 19, 2005

Think globally, act locally? Kris Christine thinks that's a little limiting.

You may remember this dogged doggie activist from Alna, Maine: In between homeschooling two kids and caring for an Alzheimer's-afflicted dad, last year Christine initiated a successful grass-roots campaign to change her state's rabies-vaccine requirement from two years to three. Then, when she thought vets weren't proactive in educating clients about the risks of overvaccination, she lobbied for legislation - opposed by the state veterinary association, and currently tabled - requiring informed consent before vets uncapped their needles.

This month, Christine announced the Rabies Challenge Fund, which she hopes will raise at least $1 million to study long-term rabies


Veterinary immunologist Jean Dodds, founder of the Hemopet blood bank in Garden Grove, Calif., will act as a trustee for the fund.

Of all the vaccines administered to companion animals, rabies is the only one mandated by law, which varies among states. Given the public health risk - rabies is transmissible to humans and almost always fatal if untreated - the vaccine has become sacrosanct.

While acknowledging the importance of the rabies vaccine, Dodds notes, "it produces more adverse reactions than any other." In addition to acute responses, such as anaphylactic shock, chronic disease also can result, Dodds says. Cats can develop injection-site sarcomas; in dogs, seizure disorders and neurological problems such as Wobbler's syndrome have been noted within weeks of vaccination.

Some veterinarians dismiss the connection between vaccination and immune-mediated disorders, citing a lack of proof. Dodds labels such arguments "analysis paralysis."

"They can say you can't prove it because you don't have a double-blind study," she says. "Meanwhile, the experiential evidence accumulates in leaps and bounds."

The first goal of the Rabies Challenge Fund is to conduct rabies-challenge studies to determine if the vaccine confers immunity for five or more years, instead of three years, the current maximum.

In both trials, which would run concurrently, 10 dogs would receive the rabies vaccine, while a control group of 10 would not. After five years, all 20 dogs would be exposed to rabies, then euthanized to determine if any had contracted the disease. (Though it is standard procedure for dogs in vaccine studies to be euthanized at the end of research, with rabies there is little alternative: Diagnosis requires examination of brain tissue.)

In another two years, the 20 dogs in the seven-year study also would be exposed to the disease, and analyzed in the same fashion.

Veterinary epidemiologist Larry Glickman of the School of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ill., says such home-grown fundraising isn't new.

"Up until a few years ago, there was no rabies vaccine licensed for ferrets, and so, in many states, people couldn't legally own them," he says. Vaccine companies did not see an economic incentive in conducting ferret-specific trials, "so the ferret owners said, 'We'll raise funds.'" A one-year challenge study in ferrets was undertaken, and a vaccine approved.

Glickman's major reservation with the Rabies Challenge Fund is "the welfare thing": How ethical is it to keep dogs isolated for that many years, only to then euthanize them?

While heartrending, Dodds argues, the sacrifice of 40 dogs might spare thousands more from the adverse effects of overvaccination. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will not extend the licensing of rabies vaccines to five or seven years without definitive proof, she notes, and "the vaccine industry has no motivation" to underwrite studies that will likely result in fewer sales.

In addition to the challenge trials, which will cost an estimated $500,000 each, Christine and Dodds say the fund will be used to study adjuvants, the preservatives used in the rabies vaccine.

"Unlike human vaccines, where all adjuvants are required to be the same, there is no such standardization in veterinary medicine," Dodds says. "Companies can add whatever they want."

Finally, the Rabies Challenge Fund would seek to develop a private reporting system for adverse reactions to the rabies vaccine. Currently, consumers can report incidents to the vaccine company, or the USDA, though "they don't have any staff to follow up," Dodds notes.

Donations can be sent to the Rabies Challenge Fund, c/o Hemopet, 11330 Markon Dr., Garden Grove, Calif., 92841; 714-891-2022.
Copyright 2005 Newsday Inc.

November 24th, 2005, 08:47 PM
Perhaps we could spare the dogs and use the kid killers and the rest of the human garbage sitting in jail doing life terms.

November 24th, 2005, 08:52 PM
i could only get to the euthenize part then i could not read on.....this is a sick study and should be stopped..........can we try an aids study on her?

November 24th, 2005, 09:20 PM
""the sacrifice of 40 dogs might spare thousands more from the adverse effects of overvaccination. ""

sounds like a good tradeoff to me

November 25th, 2005, 02:13 AM
I'm against using animals for testing in a lot of cases. But honestly, if they're studying rabies, they aren't going to be able to tell whether the vaccine is effective or not without killing the dogs. You can only tell if a creature has rabies by examining it's brain tissue. :sad: They should do their best to make sure those dogs have full lives before they die, though. I hate seeing animals stuffed in a tiny cage.


November 25th, 2005, 03:35 PM
IMO, this is bull. They want to test the effect of the vaccine, but half are not vaccinated at all. I would understand if they tested one group who gets the vaccine every year and one group who got it once in their lifetime, but to inject rabies in unvaccinated dogs? What will that prove? That unvaccinated dogs don't have the antibodies to fight rabies? We know that already. What a waste. This is why people who don't love animals get into vet school.

November 27th, 2005, 04:07 PM
sounds sad, but necessary. many drugs and vaccines are trialed on animals, well most really, its very rare we use humans (unless your an aussie researcher, then you go and get americans, strange that isnt it:rolleyes: ).

i think the best we can hope for is extreme effeciency in this research, that is to minimise pain or discomfort, and find the answers in a good amount of time. there is a great deal of ethical requirements to do such research, so hopefully they will conform. the good thing is its for the betterment of dog conditions, not human or such, so that may jsut get the animals better treatment in the race for better meaningful results.

its sad but just a fact of life, you cant use kiddies so you use animals.

hopefully science will start to move onto new technologies where one day the use of animals will not be necessary as they could do it all in the lab, lets just hope for it soon.:o