In 2009, all states conformed to nationally set standards for rabies vaccination; this extends the interval between rabies booster shots to at least once every three years with a USDA licensed vaccine and according to label recommendations. However, local laws in many cities, towns and counties still require annual rabies vaccine in order to be eligible for licenses and many pet services including grooming, boarding and travel.
Researchers believe the rabies vaccine causes adverse reactions in animals and concur that it should not be given more often than is necessary to maintain immunity. Adverse reactions to rabies vaccination can include autoimmune diseases affecting the thyroid, joints, blood, eyes, skin, kidney, liver, bowel and central nervous system; anaphylactic shock; fearfulness, aggression; seizures; epilepsy; and fibrosarcomas at injection sites.
The potential for negative side effects is even greater when an animal is in or has a physical condition that makes rabies vaccination or rabies booster shots risky.
Furthermore, the label recommendations on USDA licensed vaccines specifically advise patients who are immunosuppressed by disease or medications to postpone rabies vaccination or re-vaccination.
We believe that responsible pet owners should not be required by state or local rabies laws to subject a beloved dog or cat whose health is already compromised to an unnecessary and potentially life threatening medical procedure. Instead, it must provide citizens with a reasonable way to both protect the health of companion animals and also obey the law to protect public safety.
Petition to Grant a Medical Exemption from Rabies Shots for Sick and Senior Pets
Update: Since 2007, this petition was signed by more than 10,000 pet owners. Based on the success of rabies law reform by The Rabies Challenge Fund, it has been retired. Thank you.
So why do these outdated rabies laws exist? Why is no allowance made for family pets that are especially vulnerable to adverse reactions - the pregnant, aged, ailing, allergic animals in the care of a licensed veterinarian?
Read all about it here. Know before you go to your veterinarian for any service or procedure the danger of rabies vaccine to dogs and cats.