State Exemptions for Rabies Vaccine

Aug 26, 2019   Tracey Aston   Vaccinations

Veterinarians, shelters and most rescues will push yearly vaccines for pets, but not all pets can safely have yearly vaccines. Pets with passed negative reactions to either the vaccine itself or the mercury or chemicals within it can't be revaccinated. As it states on all vaccines, they are to only be given to healthy pets. Pets going through treatment for diseases or pets with autoimmune disorders can also not be safely vaccinated. The biggest issue for these pets is the state requires a rabies vaccination. So what is a pet parent to do?

In 2013, Pennsylvania became one of 18 states to unanimously pass a rabies medical exemption bill, SB 155.

The Rabies Prevention and Control in Domestic Animals and Wildlife Act Section 8 Subsection (f) :

 (f) Exemption.--

(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 veterinary practice, 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 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.

All of that legalese basically means, you and your pet are lucky to leave in a state that allows for exemptions of the rabies vaccination and your pet won't be put at risk.  A rabies exemption can be given by a veterinarian to an ill, immunocompromised pet or a pet that has adverse reactions to the vaccine.

A copy of the exemption letter must be sent to

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture,

Office of Dog Law Enforcement,

2301 North Cameron Street,

Harrisburg, PA 17110

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