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.

If you have an unhealthy pet and your state is not listed below, find your laws at Then call your state legislator and change the law! And please support the Rabies Challenge Fund. 2013 is the year that should produce antibody blood titer standards for dogs. Can you imagine being able to test your dog’s blood rather than have to unnecessarily revaccinate?  Please donate to help continue this amazing vaccine study.

IMPORTANT:  Please tell your veterinarians if your state permits exemptions. Many of them don’t know! And insist they apply for an exemption for your unhealthy dog.  Sadly, few will volunteer. Kris says: We weren’t involved in any legislation in Illinois; the exemption language was in another section of the law — kind of like Massachusetts. A woman from the Illinois Cocker Rescue sent me the link & information. Obviously very few people were aware of it.

Other articles of interest: Rabies Vaccination Medical Exemptions for Unhealthy Dogs
Vaccinating Unhealthy Pets: Beware Reactions & Vaccine Failure
Rabies Vaccination: 13 Ways to Vaccinate More Safely
What to Do When Your Dog Has a Vaccine Reaction Why Vets Don’t Recognize Vaccine Reactions


(please copy & paste links into browser if clicking doesn’t open them)

ALABAMA Alabama Code Alabama Code Title 3 Section 7A-2 effective August 1, 2009 (c)(1) Notwithstanding the other provisions of this chapter, the State Board of Health by rule may establish procedures and qualifications for an exemption from the requirement for a vaccination for an animal if a rabies vaccination would be injurious to the animal’s health.(2) An animal exempted under subdivision (1) shall be considered unvaccinated by the State Board of Health in the event of the animal’s exposure to a confirmed or suspected rabid animal.

CALIFORNIA On October 7, 2011, California became the 14th state with a rabies medical exemption when the Governor signed AB 258, Molly’s Bill, into law:


A veterinarian licensed in Colorado may issue a written waiver as provided in this section exempting an animal from a rabies vaccination order if the veterinarian, in his or her professional opinion, determines the rabies inoculation is contraindicated due to the animal’s medical condition. The terms “waiver” and “exemption” as used in this section are interchangeable. A veterinarian may issue a waiver if:
1. The animal to be exempted has a medical condition defined as “a disease, illness, or other pathological state” for which, in the opinion of the exempting veterinarian, a rabies inoculation is contraindicated;
2. A valid veterinary-client-patient relationship, as definied under C.R.S. Section 12-64-103 (15.5), has been established between the veterinarian, owner and animal to be exempted from rabies inoculation;
3. The veterinarian completes and signs the veterinary section of the Exemption from Rabies Vaccination form provided by the department.
4. The animal owner signs the informed consent section of the Exemption from Rabies Vaccination form;
5. The veterinarian maintains the signed exemption as part of the animal’s medical record and provides a copy to the owner;
6. The exemption issued is limited to the anticipated duration of the animal’s medical condition that precludes inoculation; and
7. The veterinarian provides a copy of the exemption form to the department, the local health department or animal control agency when requested.
C. A waiver may not exceed a period of three years from the date of issuance. If the medical condition persists beyond a three year period and, in the professional opinion of a veterinarian licensed in the State of Colorado the exemption continues to be appropriate, a new waiver may be issued.
D. Upon receiving a complaint regarding the validity of a rabies inoculation exemption, the executive direction or his/her designee(s) may review Exemption from Rabies Vaccination forms and examine the veterinary records pertaining to the medical condition to determine if the medical condition legitimately contraindicates rabies inoculation. If appropriate, the executive director or his/her designee(s) may refer the case to the State Board of Veterinary Medicine.

CONNECTICUT (b) The State Veterinarian or the Commissioner of Agriculture, or the commissioner’s designee, may grant an exemption from vaccination against rabies for a dog or cat if a licensed veterinarian has examined such animal and determined that a rabies vaccination would endanger the animal’s life due to disease or other medical considerations. Such exemption may be granted for an individual animal only after the veterinarian has consulted with the State Veterinarian, the Commissioner of Agriculture, or the commissioner’s designee, and completed and submitted to the department an application for exemption from rabies vaccination on a form approved by the Department of Agriculture. After approval of such exemption, the department shall issue a rabies vaccination exemption certificate, copies of which shall be provided to the veterinarian, the owner of the dog or cat exempted from rabies vaccination and the animal control officer of the municipality in which the owner of the dog or cat resides. Certification that a dog or cat is exempt from rabies vaccination shall be valid for one year, after which time the animal shall be vaccinated against rabies or the application for exemption shall be renewed. (c) Any veterinarian aggrieved by a denial of a request for an exemption from rabies vaccination by the State Veterinarian, the Commissioner of Agriculture or the commissioner’s designee may appeal such denial as provided in the Uniform Administrative Procedure Act, sections 4-166 to 4-189, inclusive.


(2) A dog, cat, or ferret is exempt from vaccination against rabies if a licensed veterinarian has examined the animal and has certified in writing that at the time vaccination would endanger the animal’s health because of its age, infirmity, disability, illness, or other medical considerations. An exempt animal must be vaccinated against rabies as soon as its health permits.

ILLINOIS If a licensed veterinarian determines in writing that a rabies inoculation would compromise an animal's health, then the animal shall be exempt from the rabies shot requirement, but the owner must still be responsible for the fees. 

MAINE Click on Chapter 260 A. A letter of exemption from vaccination may be submitted for licensure, if a medical reason exists that precludes the vaccination of the dog. Qualifying letters must be in the form of a written statement, signed by a licensed veterinarian, that includes a description of the dog, and the medical reason that precludes vaccination. If the medical reason is temporary, the letter shall indicate a time of expiration of the exemption.B. A dog exempted under the provisions of paragraph 5 A, above, shall be considered unvaccinated, for the purposes of 10-144 C.M.R. Ch.251, Section 7(B)(1), (Rules Governing Rabies Management) in the case of said dog’s exposure to a confirmed or suspect rabid animal.


In order for a dog or cat to be accepted at an animal hospital, veterinarian’s office or boarding facility an owner or keeper of such animal shall show proof of current vaccination against rabies; provided however, that if a dog or cat has not been so vaccinated or such owner or keeper fails to show such proof the animal shall be vaccinated against rabies prior to being discharged if the animal’s medical condition permits.

Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 140, Section 137

§ 137. Registration and licenses   A person who at the commencement of a license period is, or who during any license period becomes, the owner or keeper of a dog six months old or over which is not duly licensed, and the owner or keeper of a dog when it becomes six months old during a license period, shall cause it to be registered, numbered, described and licensed until the end of such license period, and the owner or keeper of a dog so registered, numbered, described and licensed during any license period, in order to own or keep such dog after the beginning of the succeeding license period, shall, before the beginning thereof, cause it to be registered, numbered, described and licensed for such period. The registering, numbering, describing and licensing of a dog, if kept in Boston shall be in the office of the police commissioner or if kept in any other town in the office of the clerk thereof. No town clerk or, in Boston, the police commissioner, shall grant such license for any dog unless the owner thereof provides such town clerk or, in Boston, the police commissioner, either a veterinarian’s certification that such dog has been vaccinated in accordance with the provisions of section one hundred and forty-five B, or has been certified exempt from such provision as hereinafter provided, or a notarized letter from a veterinarian that a certification was issued or a metal rabies tag bearing an expiration date indicating that such certification is still in effect. A dog licensing official may grant an exemption from the provisions of section one hundred and forty-five B for any dog which has not yet attained the age of six months, any dog which the local board of health, for a specified period of time, declared exempt upon presentation of a veterinarian’s certificate stating that because of an infirmity, other physical condition or regimen of therapy, that inoculation is thereby deemed inadvisable, or any dog in transit, or dog brought into the commonwealth, temporarily, for the sole purpose of showing in dog shows or exhibition.


II. A rabies immunization exemption may be issued, where illness or a veterinary medical condition warrants, by the local rabies control authority upon the written recommendation of a veterinarian licensed under RSA 332-B. The recommendation shall also be signed by an American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine diplomate and the state veterinarian. The exempted animal shall be maintained in strict rabies isolation, under conditions that are at the discretion of the local rabies control authority, until such time as the medical condition has been resolved and the animal can be immunized against rabies. Exempted animals shall not be allowed outdoors without being on a leash and shall be under the direct physical control of an adult owner at all times. In addition, when the animal is outdoors, it shall be muzzled in a manner approved by the local rabies control authority. Source. 1985, 72:1. 1992, 250:3. 1995, 202:4, eff. June 12, 1995. 2007, 79:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2008.

The State Department of Health shall promulgate regulations providing for the recognized duration of immunity, interval of inoculation, certificate of vaccination, certificate of exemption, and such other matters related to this act.
4.  A licensed veterinarian may exempt a dog, cat or ferret from vaccination for health reasons. The veterinarian shall record the reasons for the exemption and a specific description of the dog, cat or ferret, including the name, age, sex, breed and color on a rabies vaccination certificate which must bear the owner’s name and address. The veterinarian shall record whether the reason for the exemption is permanent and, if it is not, the date the exemption expires.

NEW YORK ExemptionsThe vaccination requirements hall not apply to any dog, cat, domesticated ferret if …. a licensed veterinarian has determined that the vaccination will adversely affect the animal’s health…. NY Medical exemption form

OREGON<(a) (1) Except where specifically exempt, all dogs at least three months old shall be immunized against rabies by the age of six months.(b) Dogs for which rabies immunization is contraindicated for health reasons, as determined by a licensed veterinarian subsequent to an examination. The reasons for the exemption and a specific description of the dog, including name, age, sex, breed, and color, shall be recorded by the examining veterinarian on a Rabies Vaccination Certificate, which shall bear the owner’s name and address. The veterinarian shall also record whether the exemption is permanent, and if it is not, the date the exemption ends.

PENNSYLVANIA (1) An exemption from vaccination against rabies for a dog or cat under subsection (a) may be granted if a licensed veterinarian examines the dog or cat and determines that it would be medically contraindicated to vaccinate.

(2) An exemption statement must be completed and signed by the veterinarian and dog or cat owner and must contain the following information in order to be valid: (i) the signature of the veterinarian and the veterinarian’s license number; (ii) the date; (iii) the name and address of the veterinarypractice, office or clinic; (iv) an explanation of the medical reason contraindicating vaccination against rabies; and (v) a description of the dog or cat that includes: (A) breed; (B) sex; (C) age; (D) color and markings; (E) whether the dog or cat is intact, neutered or spayed; and (F) the current license number of the dog that includes any permanent identification, if applicable. (vi) The signature of the owner of the dog or cat and the address of the owner. If there is more than one owner, and the owners are living at separate locations where the dog or cat may be housed, the signature and address of both owners is required. (3) An exemption from vaccination against rabies is valid for a period of up to one calendar year, after which the dog or cat shall be reexamined. At the reexamination, the dog or cat shall either be vaccinated against rabies or, if exemption status still applies, a new certificate of exemption shall be issued.


2.C.4.D. Rabies vaccination must be administered to domestic pets and wolf/hybrids prior to the age of 4 months unless in the judgment of the veterinarian the animal’s medical condition would prevent the development of adequate immunity to rabies. Animals so exempted must be inoculated against rabies as soon as their medical condition permits.

VIRGINIA § 3.2-6521. (enacted March 29, 2010)

D. The Board of Health shall, by regulation, provide an exemption to the requirements of subsection A if an animal suffers from an underlying medical condition that is likely to result in a life-threatening condition in response to vaccination and such exemption would not risk public health and safety. For the purposes of § 3.2-6522, such exemption shall mean that the animal is considered not currently vaccinated for rabies. For the purposes of §§ 3.2-5902, 3.2-6526, and 3.2-6527, such exemption shall be considered in place of a current certificate of vaccination.


(d) A city, village, or town may exempt the owner of a dog from the requirement to have the dog vaccinated against rabies for ayear based on a letter from a veterinarian stating that vaccination is inadvisable because of a reaction to a previous vaccination, a physical condition, or a regimen of therapy that the dog is undergoing. The city, village, or town shall require the owner to providea new letter for each year in which the owner seeks an exemption under this paragraph.

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

33 Comments to “Does Your State Permit Rabies Vaccination Medical Exemptions?”

  1. Carolyn in Belize Says:

    Such exciting progress! We are moving to Michigan soon … I’m sorry to see my home state is not on the list. But at least things are moving ahead — 15 states leading the way. Thank you Jan!

  2. Nancy Says:

    My dog is a 13 year old Golden with hypothyroidism and arthritis. The last time he got a Rabies vaccination, he developed a lump on the injection site that lasted for 3 weeks. I do not want to vaccinate my dog again, but when I broached it with my vet, she said that was not cause for an exemption. I think it is, any ideas on what else to do, other than going to another vet?

  3. Jan Says:

    Nancy, you have three choices: find another vet or vaccinate or break the law. If you vaccinate, I hope you’ll read this first: Rabies Vaccination: 13 Ways to Vaccinate More Safely at

    Find a homeopathic or holistic vet referral list at

    I hope there will come a day when you can just do a blood test, and that day is coming, but isn’t here yet.

  4. Nancy Says:

    Thank you Jan!

  5. John Sturgess Says:

    The Problem with changing the laws is BIG DRUG COMPANY’S and the VETERINARIAN ASSOCIATION. The Lobbyist for these groups are huge and well funded and they wine and dine local State Legislators to keep it status quo. They have too much money to loose if you dont go back for your shots. its a major cash cow for Vets and Drug Company’s.

    EZ MONEY. GREED pure and simple.

  6. Jan Says:

    John, for the most part you’re right, but the Rabies Challenge Fund and others have actually be able to change rabies laws to some extent. All states (but not all locales) now have 3-yr revaccination laws. And 16 states have medical exemptions. It’s a start. Soon the RCF will be trying to change all laws to 5 years when a 5 yr vaccine is available.

    Have you seen our new video on pet vaccine reactions? And our new all-vaccination-info website? And have you signed our petition asking the veterinary community to stop enabling over-vaccination? I really hope you will. And please tell others!

  7. Amanda Says:

    I am curious about what advice you would have for me. We live in Texas and within the past couple of years I have been reading your website, books and other information on vaccines. My dog Kally is 10+ years old. She has a history of back problems and arthritis. Her last rabies vaccine was probably in 2009 (I’d have to look to be sure) and I have not done so since. We have moved several times and my current vet pushes for vaccines. There are no exemptions in Texas and I’m wondering if anything will happen legally if I continue to refuse to vaccinate her. I live in a small town and there are only two veterinarians in town and we use both. Both push to vaccinate yearly.

  8. Jan Says:

    Amanda, your vets are either behind the times or out for more money, or both.

    Please read Questions to Ask Before Vaccinating so you’ll be armed with information.

    The law in Texas for rabies vaccination is every three years, not yearly. There are a few backward places that require vaccination more often, but they are rare. The vaccines are guaranteed by the manufacturer to give protection for three years. You can protest to your state vet board about a one-year law.

    No other vaccines are required by law.

    What can happen if you don’t vaccinate for rabies? If your dog bites someone, your dog can be put down if they choose to do so. Also your vets can refuse to treat the dog. They are likely to vaccinate without your permission if your dog needs care. Right now, you cannot use a blood titer test. I wish you could. It may be available later this year.

  9. Amanda Says:

    Thank you so much for your response. Unfortunately, we do live in one of those counties that requires every year – when we got our other dog, Sophie, vaccinated for Rabies last year, they flat out told me it was a 3-year vaccine but that I would still have to do it again this year (I’m not going to).

    I was just getting paranoid that our vet might “report” us for not vaccinating – or like you said, maybe refuse to treat her. I will speak with him at our next appointment but I will not vaccinate our older dog again for rabies, especially given her back problems. I will also just be extra cautious that she not have the opportunity to ever bite anyone – she’s sweet and probably wouldn’t anyway, but I will be extra cautious. It’s disappointing living in one of the areas that is so behind the times. Thank you for your response!!

  10. Jan Says:

    Amanda, yearly rabies vaccines are, as far as I’m concerned, consumer fraud. Every state, every veterinary organization and every manufaucturer can agrees that the 3-year vaccine gives three years of protection. The vaccine is the one most reported for producing adverse reactions. You have to change the law. Ask your vet what he/she thinks. If he/she thinks overvaccination is a good idea, report them to your state vet organization. I can put you in touch with people who can help you change the law. Even the state of Texas has a three year law.

  11. Dr. A Says:

    Amanda (and Jan),
    There is no longer a single state in the USA which requires ongoing yearly Rabies vaccination, as of several years ago. Alabama was the final state to “recognize” the 3-year RV (partly due to red-tape/beaurocracy and partly due to the fact that it is a highly Rabies-endemic state.)

    A county within a state cannot supercede the State Rabies Law in any state.

    The only time a Rabies vaccine must be given a year later is after the very FIRST one, no matter which vaccine was originally given. ALL states require a booster to be given one year after the first Rabies vaccine. After that, ALL dogs are eligible to receive the 3-yr vaccine….even if the last one was given 10 years ago. That is the law, and what the product insert of every “3-year” Rabies vaccine product states, as per their USDA-approval, which is based upon proof of efficacy. What I wonder if you are dealing with is that your dog received a “3-year” vaccine as its first vaccine (a very acceptable practice)….but if so, it DOES NOT COUNT AS A 3-YEAR vaccine, because it cannot last that long upon first exposure. There is really no difference between a 1-yr Rabies vaccine product and a 3-yr Rabies product, other than the fact that the manufacturer of the latter has spent millions of additional dollars to PROVE that their vaccine does indeed actually provide at least 3 years of protection, AFTER THE SECOND DOSE (which is given ONE YEAR after the first one.) It is not 3x stronger, as many pet owners mistakenly believe.

    If you have any doubts, contact your State Veterinarian and/or your State Rabies Officer. Sadly, local county health depts are usually inadequately knowledgeable about the law…and even less knowledgeable about actual immunology processes within a dog’s body, which is quite complex and requires years of study to properly comprehend.

  12. Dr. A Says:

    A vaccine “lump” is not at all uncommon with any vaccine. It does not indicate an allergy. It is often nothing more than the body’s response to one of the preservatives in the vaccine. (BTW, it’s one of several reasons why we give vaccinations at specific locations—so that if a lump develops, we know which vaccine triggered it.)

    Many histological studies have been done on such lumps. They are nothing but inflammatory/immunological cells, which means your dog recognized the vaccine as a foreign substance and responded to it (a GOOD thing!) Your dog is no more likely to develop an allergic response to its next Rabies vaccine than any other dog which never developed such a lump. (P.S. 3-4 weeks is the average time it takes to go away.)

    If your dog were my patient, I would, however, use a different brand the next time, since most reactions are caused by the other ingredients in the vaccine. (For myself, this happens when I receive tetanus shots—they have to special order a purified type for me.) The manufacturer, brand, type, lot/serial #, etc. are part of your dog’s medical record. (If not, THAT’s when to find a new DVM!!!)

    I have vaccinated literally several HUNDREDS of dogs for Rabies after the owner told me about “near-death” reactions to Rabies vaccines in the past….and they had no reaction whatsoever when I simply chose a different brand.

    In almost 27 years of practice (MORE THAN TEN THOUSAND dogs), I have had to obtain legal exemptions for less than a dozen dogs.

    I did it even before “my” state was added to the above list. Any DVM can seek and obtain it in ANY of the 50 United States. There just might not be a pre-printed form to fill out.

    Also of note: even if an exemption is obtained for medical reasons, such a dog would be considered unvaccinated under the law should exposure to wildlife, domestic animals of undeterminable vaccination status, or bite to a human occur. You must be DILIGENT to not allow any of this to possibly occur, because if you do, your dog will be handled like any other unvaccinated dog.

  13. Jan Says:

    Dr. A, I’m sorry to say that vets seldom recognize vaccine reactions, and often, they don’t even see them. Clients go to an emergency clinic or another vet or no vet at all. The AAHA Canine Vaccination Reports all talk about this.

    Did you read the 2005 Purdue study of vaccine reactions in 1.5 million dogs? Did you read the postings here? I get emails every day from people whose dogs are suffering reactions. My own dog died from one.

    Reactions to the rabies vaccine are the reactions most often reported to USDA/CVB. I hope you’ll read this letter national renowned expert Dr. Jean Dodds wrote re medical exemptions: And go to to read all the reports, studies and abstracts.

    Another thing: on rare occasions, the lumps can be fibrosarcomas. They develop in dogs as well as cats and are often fatal.

  14. Maria Oliver Says:

    hello, there is so much information-thank you for it, I’m readin and reading… but unfortunately we live in Arkansas now and it’s not on the list.

    Our GSD puppy is nearing 5 months age and we have to vaccinate him against rabies in a month (or two if I manage to postpone it until he finishes teething). The problem is, I am sure it will harm him because he had a reaction to all his booster combination shots. He came to us pretty much healthy at the age of 8 weeks, after the second booster he had rash in his ears and severe itching…which went away until his last booster, and then it came back and he was covered in rash all over, he has a growing bald spot on his leg, rash on his legs and stomach, he is in pain, we have been draggin him to the vet all the time, now we are going to do a skin scrape test…his immune system is shot. He is such a sweetheart and I am terrrified to give him a rabies shot, our vet ignores me completely when i told him all of this started after vaccinations, both times like clockwork on he second day after vaccines! He also had diarhea ever since the boosters, al of it is now permanent. What can I do? Is there anything that can be done to avoid vaccinating him? I can’t lose my puppy, his immune system is weak and he has to be neutered in a month too, then the shot is due, all of this is going to kill him. How do I avoid it?

  15. Jan Says:

    Maria, did you report the reactions to the vet as they occurred? Were they recording in the file? If so, you might be able to convince another vet not to vaccinate. Or go to a holistic vet who will know, at least, how to vaccinate a little more safely. There is a little good news. A dog may react to one vaccine and not another.

    If you have documented evidence, and a supportive vet, you can go to one of your state legislators and ask them to put forth a bill allowing exemptions. This is how laws got changed in the other states. Write again and I’ll see if we can help you get scientific literature for you.

    In the short run, a holistic vet is your best avenue. See the referral lists at Also read this:

  16. Lynn Parker Says:

    Dr. A, how did you go about obtaining legal exemptions for dogs in a state not on the list? We live in Texas. Thanks for any info.

  17. connie Says:

    QUOTE (above):
    AL, CA, CO, CT, FL, IL, MA, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OR, VT, VA, WI”

    You have MA listed twice. I believe there are 16, not 17.

  18. Jan Says:

    Connie, thanks for catching that. Actually, there are 17 states with exemptions: AL, CA, CO, CT, FL, IL, ME, MA, MD, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OR, VT, VA, WI. With MA twice, there are 18. I read OR to be or, as in, and/or. But it stands for Oregon. 🙂

  19. Rabies Vaccine Reaction - Forums - Yorkshire Terrier Community Says:

    […] you live in Texas you are out of luck. Here is a link to a website that has some great information: States Allowing Medical Exemptions for Rabies Vaccination | Truth4Dogs I don't know if airlines would except titer tests but I did read somewhere that some countries […]

  20. Sandi Says:

    I just spoke to the Genesee Co MI Animal Control today. He told me that MI DOES accept the Rabies Titer test…. but can’t find the law written anywhere. I’m can’t convince my vet office that I can have this done to avoid revaccinating my 14 yr old toy breed dog…. She says it is against the law. A couple days ago, I spoke to the head of the Treasurers office (who issues the dog licenses) and she said a vet could write on letterhead and exemption from the rabies vaccine if the dogs health is a concern. You would think if a vet could do this… a proof of antibodies with the titers test would be accepted.

  21. Jan Says:

    Sandi, I just saw your post. As far as I know, no states except titers. And I don’t think Michigan allows exemptions although some counties might. Go to and click on the Michigan link for the entire law. If it were my dog, I’d look for a vet willing to help. Your dog’s health is likely at stake. Some vets will write exemptions and some locales will accept them. has referral links.

    If you are forced to vaccinate, please read this first:

    The Rabies Challenge Fund is working on getting legally accepted titers. Check their website for more information.

  22. Nancy G. Says:

    I just came across this site and saw something that made me question something my vet said.
    My husband and I took over ownership of my sister-in-law’s 11 1/2 year old dog. The dog has not had ANY vaccinations since about 2008 (sudden lack of funds), but prior to that had all her vaccinations as required.
    We took her to our vet and told her the situation. The dog has an underlying condition (most likely cancer), so the vet suggested the rabies vaccine only, because she said the dog *could* be gone within 6 months, but the vaccine would cover us, of course, in the event she would bite someone. We were fine with that and the dog has had no reaction to the shot. However, the vet said that the rabies shot given to the dog was a one year vaccine. If the dog survives to get another vaccination, that would probably be the 3 year. I wanted to confirm what I read here, that after the first rabies shot, each successive one is the 3 year vaccine?

  23. Jan Says:

    Nancy, yes, the first rabies shot given is the 1-year vaccine. A year after that, the 3-yr vaccine is given and the 3-year is given every 3 years after that.

  24. Louise Says:

    I noticed the comments from the vets about the limited reactions, ability to switch to another manufacturer and the few ‘legitimate’ exemptions. I have to echo a prior comment, the original vet may not hear about the reaction. My two chihuahuas have each had a reaction to their rabies vaccine, each had a vaccine by different manufacturer. In both case, we ended up at the emergency vet. In both cases, I reported the reaction to the vaccine manufacturer and in one case, I received a partial refund from the vaccine company. If your dog has a reaction, REPORT IT. Be firm with your vet, I was encouraged to try a vaccine again with a different company, but ultimately you have to decide between complying with the requirements or doing what is safest for your dog. For me the decision has been a no-brainer S my dogs have extremely limited exposure since they are strictly house dogs.

  25. Grace Says:

    My JRT, bit my mom and by California’s Law, it was reported. I didn’t want him to do this again. I took the form the er gave my dad to take form to his vetanerian. Being a Sunday I took it to a veterinarian who was open. which I no longer took my pets.
    After hearing about what Riverside County Animal Control requested l, and the Vetanerian stated she couldn’t do it. Animal Control requested his HEAD. I couldn’t believe those words.
    Bosco was a inside dog, and knowing that he was current on all vaccinations, Neutered and Microchipped I still had to comply with the Demands. The next day May 5, 2014 I went to his vetanerian of 9 years and she contacted them explaining how he didn’t have Rabies, etc. They still wanted it done.
    I had to get approval from Animal Control because nobody came to talk to me, for quarantine however I was told that if I quarantined him, they still wanted him to be put down & check his brain.
    No one from The Riverside County Health Department contacted us.
    I can never forgive myself for failing to protect him.
    So I requested the file.
    They had a Un vaccinated Rottweilers incident in Boscos file. They even put a picture of Diesel or Rocky. Talk about a set up. Why would they cut off my dogs head and not rottweilers? Who bit a child and hadn’t been vaccinated. That incident was in April in another City. They put a VICIOUS DOG Restraining Orders against the Rottweiler but let it go.
    There’s no picture of my Jack Russell Terrier Bosco. So I sent State of California Medical Board of Vetanerians complaints form.
    I received a letter from Department of Consumer Affairs and they will be conducting an Investigation.
    I am Disabled Bosco was my companion and I trained him to help me.
    Now he’s gone. I’m devastated by this. I cry every day because they did not follow California’s Law Medical Board of Vetanerians
    I can’t forgive myself because I failed to protect him like he always protected me and was always with me.

  26. Jan Says:

    Grace, that’s the most horrible story I’ve ever heard. It was my understanding that a quarantine was the usual procedure in CA unless there was a good reason to believe the dog was rabid. I’m so sorry.

  27. barbara kumor Says:

    My puppy was vaccinated for rabies at 10 weeks old!!!!!! I new this was too soon but I trust my vet , he said it is ok….. month later I went to another vet…..and he told me that my puppy need rabies vaccination because the previous one did not count …because was to early !!!!! WOW!!!!!!!!!! I am so mad!!!!!!!!!! Anyway I said no!!!!! I will no vaccinated my puppy again !!!!! I am very angry with my previous vet!!! Did he know what he was doing????? No ….I thing he just collect money !!!! Do not trust them !!! Thank you Jan Rasmusen for having voice for our pets !!!!!!!!!!!! Keep doing good job

  28. Glenda Says:

    I live in NH. I have a very severe seizure dog that has an episode of seizing about every 20-30 days. He has acute liver disease and I have been treating him for the liver disease since May2016, He has multiple seizures for 5-8 days when he starts an episode. He can have 8-10 seizures during a 24 hr. period during the episodes He is on 4 different traditional medications for seizures and also on a chinese herb. He is a year past due for his rabies vaccination because his seizure and liver condition had turned so bad. I am being taken to court for not having him vaccinated. I am working on finding a Board Certified Internist. I am also getting a titer to see what level of immunity he has from previous vaccinations. I cannot imagine that his condition is not considered serious enough that he cannot be exempt from vaccination! Comments welcomed. Thanks.

  29. Jan Says:

    Glenda, good for you for protecting your dog. I’d try to find a holistic vet. They understand the damage that can be done.

    New Hampshire allows a rabies waiver: NEW HAMPSHIRE RABIES LAWS (WITH medical exemption & isolation) — State of New Hampshire Rabies Law Title XL, Chapter 436 Rabies Control Section 436:100
    436:100 Rabies Vaccination Required; Exemption. –
    I. Except as provided in paragraph II, every dog, cat, and ferret 3 months of age and older shall be vaccinated against rabies. Young dogs, cats, and ferrets shall be vaccinated within 30 days after they have reached 3 months of age. Unvaccinated dogs, cats, and ferrets acquired or moved into the state shall be vaccinated within 30 days after purchase or arrival, unless under 3 months of age, as specified above. Every dog, cat, and ferret shall be revaccinated at such intervals and with such vaccines as the commissioner shall specify from time to time. In rabies infected areas, dogs, cats, and ferrets recently vaccinated shall be kept under control for at least 30 days before being allowed to run free.
    II. A rabies immunization exemption may be issued, where illness or a veterinary medical condition warrants, by the local rabies control authority upon the written recommendation of a veterinarian licensed under RSA 332-B. The recommendation shall also be signed by an American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine diplomate and the state veterinarian. The exempted animal shall be maintained in strict rabies isolation, under conditions that are at the discretion of the local rabies control authority, until such time as the medical condition has been resolved and the animal can be immunized against rabies. Exempted animals shall not be allowed outdoors without being on a leash and shall be under the direct physical control of an adult owner at all times. In addition, when the animal is outdoors, it shall be muzzled in a manner approved by the local rabies control authority.
    Source. 1985, 72:1. 1992, 250:3. 1995, 202:4, eff. June 12, 1995. 2007, 79:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2008.

    The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends waivers for at risk dogs. “AVMA recognizes some animals might require a waiver from rabies vaccination because the vaccination poses an unacceptably high risk to the health of the individual animal, or a waiver might be necessary for research purposes. If adequate steps can be taken to minimize the chance of exposure to rabies virus, the AVMA recommends that such animals be granted a waiver from mandatory rabies vaccination, upon recommendation of a licensed veterinarian and with the concurrence of the appropriate public health authorities.”

    Have you tried for a waiver?

  30. Jo Singer Says:

    I am happy to be living in Florida where a waiver is accepted. This said, although this is a canine site, I am curious about something. I have a cat in Chronic Renal Failure and Chronic Pancreatitis. He is almost 17. He had his baby shots and several boosters over the years until he was about 7 years old, when he first received his first waiver due to illness.

    My question is, (he is an indoor-only cat) if he should happen to bit someone -purely by accident- what would the consequences be for his only having a waiver. It is highly unlikely that he will ever be well enough to be vaccinated. I would love some feedback on this. This article from the AVMA is a bit alarming

  31. Jan Says:

    Jo, I’m told the law varies from state to state, but I’m no expert. Some states are very punitive; others allow on house arrest. You can call animal control or ask your vet.

  32. susan ballarini Says:

    I got one titer and I will get two more. Texas does not exempt, but ALL of my dogs and some of my cats have been vaccine injured. I will move before I do it again to one of my family members. Big Pharma has no soul…STAND UP AND CHANGE THE LAW!

  33. Jan Says:

    Susan, good for you! Why not change the law? It’s possible, although I know that Texas is particularly backward re vaccination science.

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