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|PENNSYLVANIA: Rabies Medical Exemption Action Alert -- Pennsylvania pet owners have initiated an effort to get a rabies medical exemption clause inserted into the Pennsylvania Rabies Code. Below is a copy of the letter I have faxed to the Pennsylvania State Veterinarian and below that is a copy of Pennsylvania resident Jennifer Shipley's letter.
What You Can Do to Help
Contact your legislator and ask them to file a rabies medical exemption bill on your behalf. You can find your legislators' contact information at this link http://www.legis.state.pa.us/ , and please ask everyone you know who may concerned about this issue to do the same. E-mails for the entire Pennsylvania Assembly are listed at the bottom of this message.
PERMISSION IS GRANTED TO CROSS-POST
June 29, 2010
Dr. Craig E. Shultz
Department of Agriculture
2301 N. Cameron Street, Room 410
Harrisburg, PA 17110
RE: Medical Exemption Clause for Pennsylvania’s Rabies Prevention and Control Code
Greetings Dr. Shultz:
On behalf of The Rabies Challenge Fund and the Pennsylvania pet owners who have contacted us requesting assistance, we respectfully request that you, in your capacity as State Veterinarian, initiate medical exemption legislation waiving the rabies immunization requirement in Chapter 16, Subchapter C., §16.43 of the Pennsylvania Code for the small number of animals whose veterinarians have determined their medical conditions preclude vaccination.
The states of Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin all have medical exemption clauses for sick animals in their rabies immunization laws, and a bill is currently pending in the California legislature to include a waiver in their statutes.
The labels on rabies vaccines state that they are for “the vaccination of healthy cats, dogs…,” and there are medical conditions for which vaccination can jeopardize the life or well-being of an animal. A medical exemption clause would allow Pennsylvania veterinarians to write waivers for animals whose medical conditions (such as those with cancer, kidney/liver failure, hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, grand mal seizures, and chronic autoimmune disorders) would be exacerbated by rabies vaccination. The State of Maine inserted such an exemption into their 3 year rabies protocol, 7 M.R.S.A., Sec. 3922(3), which became effective in April 2005 -- not one rabid dog has been reported in the more than 5 years since that date. Colorado’s data reflect the same -- there have been no rabid dogs reported in the state since passage of their medical exemption clause in July 2008.
Maine’s exemption language is as follows:
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.
The Rabies Challenge Fund strongly urges you to request legislation be submitted on behalf of the Department of Agriculture amending Chapter 16, Subchapter C., §16.43 of the Pennsylvania Code to include medical exemption language for unhealthy animals for which rabies vaccination would compromise their well-being.
Kris L. Christine
THE RABIES CHALLENGE FUND
cc: Dr. W. Jean Dodds
Dr. Ronald Schultz
Pennsylvania General Assembly
LETTER from Pennsylvania resident, Jennifer Shipley:
June 28, 2010
Stewart J. Greenleaf
Senate Box 203012
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3012
Dear Senator Greenleaf:
Legislation is needed to provide an exemption from rabies vaccination for pets with existing medical conditions.
My Border Collie, Fever, has idiopathic epilepsy along with other chronic, serious and immune related health conditions. Her veterinarian, Dr. Barrie Barr, DVM of Harmony Animal Health Care Clinic, feels strongly that further rabies vaccinations would potentially pose serious risk to her health. I have a letter written by Dr. Barr to that effect.
In conversation with a friend who lives in New Jersey who owns a dog related to my own with the same medical condition, I learned that her dog’s veterinarian fills out an exemption form annually. The form protects her dog’s life by legally exempting him from rabies vaccination upon examination of a veterinarian who has determined that it would be “medically contraindicated to vaccinate this animal due to an infirmity, other physical condition, or regimen of therapy.” [Attachment “B”]
The manufacturers as well as the USDA state the vaccines should be given to healthy cats and dogs.
My dogs are a cherished and extremely valuable part of my life. Those of us in Pennsylvania who own dogs consider them important member of our families. No dog owner in PA should be forced by our state to risk their dog’s life if a veterinarian has determined that a vaccination would jeopardize their health. Thirteen other states have medical exemption clauses in their rabies laws, would you please introduce legislation on my behalf that would put a medical exemption clause into our state law?
For more detailed information regarding this issue, please see the following additional exhibits:
Attachment C: Specific manufacturer information regarding vaccines
Attachment D: Vaccine reactions and duration of immunity
I have more information available if you need it. I would be more then happy to speak to you via telephone, email or meet with you in person. You’re help in this cause is desperately needed. Thank you for your attention and efforts in advance.
Cc: Hon. Katharine M. Watson, Governor Edward G. Rendell, Chase & Jen Utley
E-Mails for All Members of the Pennsylvania Assembly:
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