Did you know that the rabies vaccination can be harmful and even lethal for dogs with existing health problems?
A Canine Health and Welfare Issue
Posted By Dawn Kairns, Author of MAGGIE the dog who changed my life A Story of Love
During 2010, HSVMA supported a previous effort to pass Molly’s Bill. However, it stalled in last year’s legislative session. At a press conference in February, Assemblymember Curt Hagman re-introduced the legislation, and Dr. Tracy Yen spoke in support on HSVMA’s behalf. The event was also attended by the bill’s namesake, Molly, an English Springer Spaniel cared for by Sam and Cecilia Gadd of Chino Hills, Calif. Molly contracted an autoimmune disorder, and despite her attending veterinarian’s recommendation against further vaccination, local authorities denied Molly a medical waiver for her licensing.
Making matters worse?
Vaccination is a powerful medical tool with potentially powerful side effects. Research indicates that rabies vaccine-associated reactions in dogs are significant. Numerous individual veterinarians and veterinary clinics, veterinary medical teaching institutions and professional associations support the necessity for selective exemption from vaccination. Dogs exempted under A.B. 258 would be medically evaluated by a veterinarian and monitored by local public health officials. The public may actually be put at greater potential risk for zoonotic disease without a vaccination exemption provision, because pet owners who are deeply concerned about their dogs’ health and are deprived of an exemption option may choose to fly ‘under the radar,’ eluding both vaccination and licensing entirely.
From the national perspective, there is significant precedent for this type of legislation. Many states have implemented exemption from rabies vaccination programs while effectively preserving the public health. A number of states—including Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia and Wisconsin—already provide for medical exemptions from rabies vaccination in their dog licensing programs.
Molly’s Bill is awaiting a vote in the California State Assembly. We urge our California-based veterinary professional members to contact their Assembly member to encourage their support for this important measure. Tell them that our licensing system should be flexible enough to accommodate legitimate medical exceptions to vaccination when a dog’s health and well-being are at stake. And don't forget to tell them that you are a California voter and a veterinary professional."