The syringe hole was clearly visible in the center of the growth. Meadow died as a result of the aggressive mast cell tumor and Kris determined to find out why. Like most good pet owners, she had regularly visited the vet for Meadow's scheduled vaccinations. Little did she suspect that it was that very regular routine that may have contributed to Meadow's loss.
Her quest to make any sense of her dog's death eventually brought her to several reports that jumped out:
1991-Center for Disease Control: "A fully-vaccinated dog is unlikely to become infected with rabies." (1)
1991-Center for Disease Control: 1998 study documents no vaccine failures in dogs which had received two vaccinations (1)
1992-French scientist Michel Aubert: Dogs are immune to rabies challenge five years after vaccination(2)
Kris learned that rabies vaccinations are associated with autoimmune diseases of:
as well as:
Finally, Kris learned that the USDA requires no proof of long-term duration immunity from vaccine manufacturers; yet, the USDA licenses vaccines which protect against disease a minimum of three years with packaged instructions for annual boosters!
Partnered with top veterinary vaccine researchers, Dr. W. Jean Dodds and Dr. Ronald Schultz, Kris founded a charitable trust to fund The Rabies Challenge for which she is the primary advocate. Based on concurrent five and seven year challenge studies, the immediate goal is to determine long-term minimum duration of immunity for rabies vaccine, after which states will be able to extend mandated boosters to five and then seven years.
"If the challenge is successful, pets will only be required one or two rabies boosters for the rest of their lives after the initial puppy shots," Christine said. "Not only will they be exposed to less risk of adverse reactions to the vaccine, but it will save owners unnecessary veterinary fees."
November marks the end of the study's first year; early results on the five-year challenge are expected in four years. Each year the fund must raise approximately $200,000 for annual expenses. Christine works from two to ten hours a day making contacts with dog owners, legislators, animal organizations, online groups and other pet health advocates encouraging participation and support of the project and assisting local groups to promote better pet vaccination laws within the states.
"If these five and seven year studies are successful and the states extend their booster requirements, it will mean pet owners no longer have to worry that dogs in this country are being required by law to be over-vaccinated against rabies," Christine explained.
She summed it up: "It is satisfying to think that in some small way, my efforts will have helped to honor all the wonderful dogs that bless our lives with unwavering devotion and companionship."
For more information or to make a tax-deductible donation, please visit The Rabies Challenge website.