Medical Exemptions for the Rabies Vaccine Allowed in 18 States

Most traditional vets don’t provide the option to give titer tests which tests the presence of antibodies in the blood.  It is easier and MUCH more profitable to just administer a rabies vaccine.  In fact, give your vet a call and ask the receptionist how much a rabies vaccine will cost.  The answer will likely answer immediately.  If you ask for the cost of a titer test, they will probably put you on hold to find out what a titer test, whether or not they provide the test, and then find out how much it would cost.  There are very simple in-office tests available, but the vaccine is so profitable that most traditional vets won’t even tell you about it.  This is a very deliberate way to keep dog owners in the dark.  Vaccines cause a plethora of illness and disease.  The vets just let the money pour on in.  To become better versed with regard to vaccines, read my article, Are Dog Vaccines Really Safe? in which I break it down for you the dangers of over-vaccinating.  You may watch a video of the leading veterinary immunologist explain it all.  I strongly recommend you check it out.  It could save your dog’s life.

Syringe and red crossTHE 18 STATES WITH RABIES MEDICAL EXEMPTIONS: Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin

Each state requires its own procedures and protocols in obtaining and maintaining the exemption status.


About the Code:  Alabama Code Title 3 Section 7A-2

What the code states:
(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.


About the Code:  Health and Safety Code Section 121690

What the code states:
(2) A request for an exemption from the requirements of this subdivision shall be submitted on an approved form developed by the department and shall include a signed statement by the veterinarian explaining the inadvisability of the vaccination and a signed statement by the dog owner affirming that the owner understands the consequences and accepts all liability associated with owning a dog that has not received the canine anti-rabies vaccine. The request shall be submitted to the local health officer, who may issue an exemption from the canine anti-rabies vaccine.
(3) The local health officer shall report exemptions issued pursuant to this subdivision to the department.
(4) A dog that is exempt from the vaccination requirements of this section shall be considered unvaccinated.
(5) A dog that is exempt from the vaccination requirements of this section shall, at the discretion of the local public health officer or the officer’s designee, be confined to the premises of the owner, keeper, or harborer and, when off the premises, shall be on a leash the length of which shall not exceed six feet and shall be under the direct physical control of an adult. A dog that is exempt from the provisions of this section shall not have contact with a dog or cat that is not currently vaccinated against rabies.


About the Code: Title 25, Article 4, Part 6

What the code states:
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;
6. The exemption issued is limited to the anticipated duration of the animal’s medical condition that precludes inoculation; and
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.


About the Code:  Public Act No. 06-105

What the code states:
(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. 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.


About the Code:  Chapter 828.30

What the code states:
(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.


About the Code:  510 ILCS 5/7) (from Ch. 8

What the code states:
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.

 (7) MAINE

About the Code:  Chapter 260

What the code states:
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.


About the Code:

What the code states:
(3) The Public Health Veterinarian may delay temporarily or indefinitely the rabies vaccination requirement for certain dogs, cats, or ferrets in the interest of public safety or for medical determinations or research.


About the Code:   Section 137 & 145B

What the code states:
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.

 (10) NEVADA

About the Code:  NAC 441A.435

What the code states:
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.


About the Code:  Section 446:100

What the code states:
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.


About the Code:  Section 419-15.2a

What the code states:
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.

New Jersey provides a Medical Exemption Form to be completed by a vet.

 (13) NEW YORK

About the Code: What Pet Owners Need to Know About Rabies Vaccinations in New York State

What the code states:
Exemptions The vaccination requirements shall not apply to any dog, cat, domesticated ferret if …. a licensed veterinarian has determined that the vaccination will adversely affect the animal’s health….

New York provides a Medical Exemption Form to be completed by a vet.

 (14) OREGON

About the Code:  333-019-0017

What the code states:

(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…


About the Code:  Senate Bill 155

What the code states:
(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 required information by the state order to be valid.  There are several limitations and requirements of this exemption which must be satisfied to in order to maintain the exempt status.


About the Code:  Rabies Control Manual

What the code states:
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.


About the Code: Chapter 182

What the code states:
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.


About the Code:  Chapter 95

What the code states:
(d) A city, village, or town may exempt the owner of a dog from the requirement to have the dog vaccinated against rabies for a year 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 provide a new letter for each year in which the owner seeks an exemption under this paragraph.


“States with Medical Exemptions in Lieu of Rabies Vaccination – Rabies Challenge Fund.” States with Medical Exemptions in Lieu of Rabies Vaccination – Rabies Challenge Fund. The Rabies Challenge Fund Charitable Trust, 20 July 2014. Web. 5 Nov. 2014. <>.The official government website for each state was referred to in order to confirm the accuracy of the information provided in this article.  The links following “About the Code” lead directly to the applicable information cited in each description of the exemption and waiver information

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