Canine Rabies Exemption

Why do I need to fill out three forms and submit a copy of the dog's medical records?

Three forms are required to apply for exemption from canine rabies vaccination: the State of California's "Rabies Vaccination Certificate-Exemption from Canine Rabies Vaccination," the LA County Supplemental form, and the City of Long Beach Canine Anti-Rabies vaccination Temporary Exemption Form. Cooperative efforts have resulted in rabies being eradicated from the LA County and Orange County pet populations. However, to ensure that the rabies vaccination exemption program does not result in a resurgence of rabies infections in LA County and Orange County, the additional information is deemed necessary for the evaluation of a request. The completed Supplemental Form both establishes an official request specifically to LA County or Orange County, and allows for internal tracking. The medical records serve as supportive information for the condition for which exemption is sought. The records will be reviewed by County veterinarians to assess the medical justification for exemption. Every year large numbers of dogs are imported into LA County and Orange County from other countries, further increasing the risk of rabies exposure to both human and pet populations. Our goal is to make every effort to protect public health.

Which medical conditions are accepted for approval of exemption?

A list of diseases/conditions has not been defined for this process. However, veterinarians advocating for clients and veterinarians protecting the public should use professional judgment when assessing the risk of rabies vaccination to that of a dog's health status. Examples of serious medical conditions that may warrant exemption include, but are not limited to, immune-mediated diseases (e.g., IMHA), cancer therapy, and severe adverse reactions to rabies vaccination. Old age, minor reactions to rabies vaccination (e.g., facial angioedoema), reactions to non-rabies vaccinations and positive rabies titers are not conditions that warrant an exemption.

Who will be notified of approval/denial?

Notification will be distributed to the State, local animal control agency, and the requesting veterinarian. The requesting veterinarian should provide the approved/denied certificate and form to the dog owner. This will allow the veterinarian to maintain a copy in the dog's medical record, as well as facilitate a veterinarian-client discussion about issues concerning dogs not vaccinated for rabies.

For how long are approved exemptions valid?

For a maximum of one (1) year. If the animal's condition persistently precludes rabies immunization, a new request must be submitted annually.

What happens if the exempted dog is exposed to a rabid (or untested, potentially rabid) wild animal such as a bat, skunk, fox, raccoon, coyote, or opossum?

A rabies vaccination exemption may be used only for the purposes of obtaining a license for the indicated dog. The unvaccinated dog will be subjected to the same dispositions as other unvaccinated dogs as outlined in the California Code of Regulations. For example, vaccinated dogs exposed to rabid or potentially rabid animals (i.e., most wildlife, rabies reservoirs) are quarantined for 30 days, while unvaccinated dogs would be subject to six (6) months quarantine and/or euthanasia.

What restrictions are imposed on the client/dog for not being rabies-vaccinated?

The dog must be confined to the premises indicated on the forms, or else on a six-foot (6') leash and under the direct physical control of an adult. Additionally, the dog cannot have contact with any animal that is not current with rabies vaccination.