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· Metrowest, MA
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· Metrowest, MA
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That is what I suspected. Rabies laws can be very confusing, and more so when local rules at various levels can override the higher levels.
Yes. It is our TWON'S rule that I need to have a titer every 3 years. That is not a state law.
 
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Yes. It is our TWON'S rule that I need to have a titer every 3 years. That is not a state law.
It works a bit different here in California. You can get the three year rabies vaccination but after the three years, if you choose to titer, you have to titer every year thereafter to prove immunity. If there is insufficient immunity, you then have to vaccinate.

I see that California does have an exception clause but I will confirm with the Vet on my next visit in a couple of months. Fortunately, I will not have to cross the rabies titer bridge for another two years.
 

· Metrowest, MA
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It works a bit different here in California. You can get the three year rabies vaccination but after the three years, if you choose to titer, you have to titer every year thereafter to prove immunity. If there is insufficient immunity, you then have to vaccinate.

I see that California does have an exception clause but I will confirm with the Vet on my next visit in a couple of months. Fortunately, I will not have to cross the rabies titer bridge for another two years.
No, you don’t understand. In MA, you could not do it at all with a dog like Ricky. My other dogs are not eligible. ONLY Kodi, and ONLY because the Rabies vaccine almost killed him. There is no ability to “just decide” that you want to titer rather than get a Rabies vaccine. Kodi has a waiver, written ANNUALLY, by his vet, stating that giving him the Rabies vaccine would likely kill him, based on documented past experience with the vaccine. THAT is what is required by the state. Our town has the added requirement for a titer every three years.

Now, we know that the grid that MOM found is not completely accurate, but THAT only talked about a medical waiver for California, no general one just at will. And from everything you’ve always said, Ricky is perfectly healthy. So you’ll want to check that he is even eligible for a Rabies waiver. It is pretty easy to find the laws for Rabies by state. Here are yours. I see NOTHING about waivers for dogs that do not have health reasons for exemptions. I didn’t do a deep dive, and this may not be the most up to date. But this is what I found very quickly:

 

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THAT only talked about a medical waiver for California, no general one just at will. And from everything you’ve always said, Ricky is perfectly healthy. So you’ll want to check that he is even eligible for a Rabies waiver. It is pretty easy to find the laws for Rabies by state. Here are yours. I see NOTHING about waivers for dogs that do not have health reasons for exemptions. I didn’t do a deep dive, and this may not be the most up to date. But this is what I found very quickly:
I understand exactly what you understand, we are in agreement. California does not have an "at will" exemption from rabies vaccination. I am not seeking a waiver for Ricky, he is completely healthy. However, I can forego rabies vaccination if a titer shows he meets minimum immunity to rabies even though he is completely healthy and apparently not rabies vaccine sensitive at this time. I may decide to seek a titer exception for rabies if he still meets minimum immunity in two years when he is next due for his rabies vaccination. IF I do decide to rabies titer in two years and IF he passes minimum immunity at that time and IF I decide not to do rabies vaccination at that time...I will be required to titer every year thereafter. IF and WHEN he doesn't pass minimum immunity, I will be required to rabies vaccinate him at that time.

Specifically with regards to Kodi's condition, my understanding is that he would be exempt in California with a Vet's waiver. I am NOT seeking a waiver for Ricky because he does not qualify at this time and I hope he never qualifies for a waiver.
 

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That is interesting because I understood it differently. I was under the impression a healthy dog cannot be exempt from a rabies vaccine in any state. Some states allow a medical exemption, but it has to be approved by a vet who can document a vaccine reaction or specific medical condition that would make the vaccine dangerous. Those who qualify for a medical exemption may be required to complete a periodic rabies titer, either by the state, county, or town. Additionally, a rabies titer may be required for travel, but it does not replace the requirement for the vaccine. Since many places are finally moving to rabies every 3 years, maybe more people will need to titer for travel.

What I’m gathering is the information Mudpuppymama found is a great place to start, but everyone has to also check their county and city, because it’s difficult to keep up with the layers of bureaucracy ;)

I thought rabies is different from all other vaccinations. Titers for other vaccines can be used to show immunity and opt out, but not rabies. Titers for rabies are to prove the vaccine is still effective in the 2nd and 3rd year, or for those with medical exemptions. I hope this changes, but it seems like it would be big news in the pet communities if it has.
 

· Metrowest, MA
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I thought rabies is different from all other vaccinations. Titers for other vaccines can be used to show immunity and opt out, but not rabies.
You can always opt out of ALL vaccines other than Rabies. Only Rabies is mandated (by most states) because it affects humans too. There is no law saying you must give your dog sny other vaccines… it’s just not a good idea to leave them unprotected.
 

· Metrowest, MA
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I understand exactly what you understand, we are in agreement. California does not have an "at will" exemption from rabies vaccination. I am not seeking a waiver for Ricky, he is completely healthy. However, I can forego rabies vaccination if a titer shows he meets minimum immunity to rabies even though he is completely healthy and apparently not rabies vaccine sensitive at this time. I may decide to seek a titer exception for rabies if he still meets minimum immunity in two years when he is next due for his rabies vaccination. IF I do decide to rabies titer in two years and IF he passes minimum immunity at that time and IF I decide not to do rabies vaccination at that time...I will be required to titer every year thereafter. IF and WHEN he doesn't pass minimum immunity, I will be required to rabies vaccinate him at that time.
I would love to be able to read anything about this on your state website. Can you show me what I am missing?
 

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I would love to be able to read anything about this on your state website. Can you show me what I am missing?
I did not read this on any website, just passing on what Ricky's Vet told me, face to face, three days ago. I had an appointment for Ricky's annual wellness checkup. I asked him the questions as a result of these threads on HF for me to get a better understanding of what the law is with regards to a California Vet's responsibility for rabies vaccination. He has been a licensed Vet at the same location for over 15 years now. He said in his experience, the three year rabies vaccine only provides effective immunity for three, maybe four years. That is why he doesn't recommend or encourage a rabies titer at the end of three years because a rabies vaccination costs around $25 while a rabies titer costs probably $300+ at this time. He isn't sure because it has been a few years since he has done one. If the dog fails the rabies titer immunity test, he will be required to get the vaccine anyway. We didn't talk about a medical waiver for rabies vaccination because Ricky has never been vaccine sensitive to any vaccine (rabies or other) and at this time he doesn't qualify for a rabies medical waiver IF one is available in California..
 

· Metrowest, MA
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I did not read this on any website, just passing on what Ricky's Vet told me, face to face, three days ago. I had an appointment for Ricky's annual wellness checkup. I asked him the questions as a result of these threads on HF for me to get a better understanding of what the law is with regards to a California Vet's responsibility for rabies vaccination. He has been a licensed Vet at the same location for over 15 years now. He said in his experience, the three year rabies vaccine only provides effective immunity for three, maybe four years. That is why he doesn't recommend or encourage a rabies titer at the end of three years because a rabies vaccination costs around $25 while a rabies titer costs probably $300+ at this time. He isn't sure because it has been a few years since he has done one. If the dog fails the rabies titer immunity test, he will be required to get the vaccine anyway. We didn't talk about a medical waiver for rabies vaccination because Ricky has never been vaccine sensitive to any vaccine (rabies or other) and at this time he doesn't qualify for a rabies medical waiver IF one is available in California..
I won't even get into your vet's beliefs, but the law is the law. And when I go to the LAWS in your state, the medical waiver is PLAINLY written, as are the requirements for vaccination. (I gave you the link, you can read it yourself and discuss it with your vet if you choose) There is NOTHING about ANY alternative of using a titer rather than a vaccine, no matter what the length of time is. To my knowledge, (because it was HUGE, happy, news in the dog community!) the only state currently allowing titers in lieu of Rabies vaccination is Maryland.
 

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To complicate matters further, I believe that it is up to the individual vet to determine what medical conditions qualify for a medical exemption. These qualifying conditions could differ greatly depending on the vet. For example, at one extreme you have a dog like Kodi who almost died from his previous rabies vaccine. It is very obvious that he should not receive another rabies vaccine. At the other extreme you have a dog with allergies. Allergies are not life threatening but have a severe impact on quality of life and do indicate an immune system problem which is most likely not going to be helped by giving additional vaccines for diseases the dog is already immune to. In between you have dogs like Mia who had seizures following a rabies vaccine. You also have dogs with conditions like kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes, or a host of different autoimmune diseases. I assume what one vet considers a qualifying condition another one does not. Although Ricky is supposedly healthy he does have allergies and that could be enough of a condition for a vet to consider a medical exemption.
 

· Metrowest, MA
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.
 

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Maybe, though here in MA, I think a vet who gave out many of those, considering HOW many dogs have one sort of allergies or another, would find themselves in hot water. WE had one vet who threatened the entire waiver process by giving waivers to ALL her patients, on the theory that she felt that vaccines were bad for the health of all dogs period. :rolleyes: She is a nut case, who is not even allowed on the grounds of the university vet hospital here. She does have her following... until one of their dogs gets REALLY sick... with something her whooo whoo medicine can't help. Then they have to go find a real vet to help their dog.
I think this is a good illustration of what I was trying to say. I am not saying it is right. I am just saying when something is up to a particular person’s opinion this is what can happen.
 

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Although Ricky is supposedly healthy he does have allergies and that could be enough of a condition for a vet to consider a medical exemption.
No, Ricky does not qualify for a medical rabies vaccine exemption/waiver. Yes, he does have environmental allergies and they have been specifically identified. He has not been specifically identified to being allergic to the rabies vaccine. A canine must be reactive specifically to the rabies vaccine before he can get a rabies vaccine exemption from a California Vet. That is my understanding.
 

· Metrowest, MA
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Your state website SPECIFICALLY states the kind of illness that is acceptable for exemption, and it includes more than just a Rabies reaction:

"Rabies vaccination exemptions will only be approved for serious medical conditions. Examples include serious immune mediated disease (MHA), conditions requiring immune‐suppressive therapy (cancer treatment), or previously documented serious adverse reactions to rabies vaccination. Exemptions will not be approved in cases of: old age, weakness, pregnancy, minor reactions to the rabies vaccination (facial angioedema), reactions to non‐rabies vaccinations and positive rabies titers as they are not conditions that warrant an exemption."

I find it interesting that they SPECIFICALLY state that a positive Rabies titer is NOT an acceptable reason to forego a Rabies vaccination.
 

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positive rabies titers as they are not conditions that warrant an exemption."

I find it interesting that they SPECIFICALLY state that a positive Rabies titer is NOT an acceptable reason to forego a Rabies vaccination.
I think the State wording is subject to misinterpretation. The way Ricky's Vet explained to me is as follows:

EXEMPTION is defined as a lifetime waiver for the rabies vaccine. One positive rabies titer does not qualify for a lifetime exemption/waiver. However, one positive rabies titer does qualify for a one year exception. I would either have to get another positive rabies titer the following year or else vaccinate for rabies the following year.

I think it is easy to reach a wrong conclusion without reading the whole law and just taking parts of it out of context. It just shows that it it is important to have a licensed Vet make the call because their license is at stake rather than trying to interpret the law and make the decision on our own.
 

· Metrowest, MA
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I think the State wording is subject to misinterpretation. The way Ricky's Vet explained to me is as follows:

EXEMPTION is defined as a lifetime waiver for the rabies vaccine. One positive rabies titer does not qualify for a lifetime exemption/waiver. However, one positive rabies titer does qualify for a one year exception. I would either have to get another positive rabies titer the following year or else vaccinate for rabies the following year.

I think it is easy to reach a wrong conclusion without reading the whole law and just taking parts of it out of context. It just shows that it it is important to have a licensed Vet make the call because their license is at stake rather than trying to interpret the law and make the decision on our own.
I really wish you would just read your own state law. (which I linked for you) This is all stated there quite plainly. Just as in MA, health waivers in CA, unless this is all wrong, are only good for one year at a time.
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