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Canine Rabies Exemptions

Ill and senior dogs may be elibilge for an exemption from the rabies vaccination.

PugAccording to Ronald Schultz, D.V.M., Ph.D., of the deptartment of pathobiological sciences ath the University of Wisconsin School of Verterinary medicine in Madison, owners of senior or ill dogs should take advantage of the rabies vaccination medical expemtion laws available in some states. Dogs with metastazsized cancers, liver of kidney failure, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, lymphoma, or those who experienced a previous adverse reaction should not receive the vaccine.

Dogs older than 11 are considered to be senior, and with age, the ability to mount an immune response to vaccination diminishes. Whether to vaccinate dogs with chronic diseases would have to be determined on a case-by-case basis by a veterinarian.

Schultz cautions, however, that medical exemptions are not a substitute for vacination in the eyes of the law. “Medical exemptions enable the owner to remain compliant with state licensing regulations, but if the dog bites someone he is considered unvaccincated and unprotected,” Schultz says.

Sixteen states currently have medical exemptions written into the rabies vaccination laws. Click on each state for more information:

ALABAMA
(From the main page, click on Title 3 Animals on the left side, then click on Chapter 7A Rabies and then click on Section 3 – 7A-2 for the info.)

CALIFORNIA

COLORADO

CONNECTICUT

MASSACHUSETTS

NEVADA

NEW HAMPSHIRE 

NEW JERSEY 

NEW YORK

OREGON

VERMONT

VIRGINIA 

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Dogs · Health and Care