Rabies Rules Should Offer Exemptions

RECEIVED Tue., July 31, 2007

Dear Editor,
    I urge the Texas Department of State Health Services to grant an exemption for companion animals who are ill, old, or have no risk of exposure when rabies rules are reviewed on Monday, Aug. 6.
    Veterinarians who are aware of the risks of adverse reactions to vaccinations advise against administering them to a dog or cat who is stressed, under a general anesthetic, recovering from surgery, has a chronic illness, has allergies, is on treatment for an infection, or has a history of immune system disorder, etc.
    A multicomponent live virus vaccine is a robust challenge to the immune system, and when given on top of other existing factors, it can prove too much for the animal to cope with.
    Yet as the rabies law stands, there is no allowance for dogs and cats that are under the care of a licensed veterinarian for acute or chronic illness or who are at the end of their lives.
    We do not believe that a Texas resident should have to choose between harming a beloved companion animal with unnecessary booster shots or obeying the law.
    I strongly urge the Department of State Health Services to grant a standardized vaccination exemption for animals that are being treated by a licensed veterinarian for acute or chronic illnesses or that have adverse reactions from the rabies vaccine.
    Furthermore, I strongly believe this exemption should be universally valid in every Texas community when a dog or cat is licensed.
    This waiver would not exempt a pet guardian from licensing an animal according to local ordinances. Instead it would provide responsible Texas citizens with a reasonable way to obey the law as well as protect the health of a beloved pet.
    Anyone who loves animals will support this rule change. Sign our petition at www.petitiononline.com/tdsh2007/petition.html.
Pamela Picard
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