As of January 2014, 18 states nationwide grant rabies medical exemptions at the request of a licensed veterinarian. They are Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin
We are extremely grateful for every step toward thoughtful and humane rabies prevention and control laws; however, it's important for pet owners to understand that even in those states which waive rabies vaccine for a pet suffering acute or chronic illness, it is not a "get out of jail free" card.
- In most places, local ordinances supersede state guidelines; check with local authorities for exemption rules and forms.
- In almost every state, your dog or cat will be treated as though it is not vaccinated in a bite incident. This is true whether it bites someone or is bitten by another animal. This can mean a long, expensive period of isolation that would most likely be the death of a sick or senior pet.
- Lastly, remember that the best way to prevent rabies is to limit or avoid your companion's exposure to wildlife.
Permission and limitations vary by state. Click on the links below for details in your state.
Alabama Code Title 3 Section 7A-2
Effective August 1 2009
California Rabies Laws
Colorado Zoonosis Rabies Rules
Connecticut Chapter 435, Section 22-338
1997 Florida Statutes, Chapter 828
510 ILCS 5/Animal Control Act
Rules governing rabies management
General Laws of Massachusetts / Chapter 140: Section 145B
Source. 1985, 72:1. 1992, 250:3. 1995, 202:4, eff. June 12, 1995. 2007, 79:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2008.
New York State Health Department / Zoonosis / Pet Owners Fact Sheet
333-019-0017 Rabies Vaccination for Animals
Vermont Health Department / Rabies Control Manual / Vaccination
Virginia Legislation Chapter 182 § 3.2-6521
Enacted March 29, 2010
State of Wisconsin Statutes Assembly Bill 527