NEW MEXICO: Rabies Medical Exemption Action Alert -- New Mexico pet owners have launched an effort to get a rabies medical exemption clause inserted into the Rabies Code. Below is a copy of the letter I have faxed to the New Mexico State Veterinarian and below that is a copy of New Mexico resident Chryssa Charalambides'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 linkhttp://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/legislatorsearch.aspx , and please ask everyone you know who may concerned about this issue to do the same. E-mails for the entire New Mexico Legislature are listed at the bottom of this message.
PERMISSION IS GRANTED TO CROSS-POST
July 23, 2010
Dr. Dave E. Fly, State Veterinarian
New Mexico Livestock Board
300 San Mateo NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109
RE: Rabies Medical Exemption for New Mexico Code Title 7 Chapter 4 Part 2 §22.214.171.124
Greetings Dr. Fly:
New Mexicos Code requiring rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats, Title 7 Chapter 4 Part 2 §126.96.36.199, does not contain a provision to exempt unhealthy animals whose veterinarians have determined their medical conditions should 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 laws, and a bill is currently pending in the California legislature to include a waiver in its 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. Passage of a medical exemption clause would allow New Mexicos veterinarians to write waivers for animals -- such as those who have had anaphylactic reactions to vaccination, or suffer from cancer, kidney/liver failure, hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, grand mal seizures, and chronic autoimmune disorders -- whose medical conditions would be exacerbated by rabies vaccination.
The State of Maine inserted the following medical exemption into their 3 year rabies protocol, 7 M.R.S.A., Sec. 3922(3), which became effective in April 2005:
5 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.
In the more than 5 years since Maines medical exemption went into effect, not one rabid dog has been reported in the state. Colorados data reflect the same -- there have been no rabid dogs reported in the state since passage of their medical exemption in July 2008.
Without a provision for medical exemptions in Title 7 Chapter 4 Part 2 §188.8.131.52, New Mexicos rabies immunization code thrusts an ethical quandary on veterinarians with seriously ill patients -- they must either violate their Veterinarians Oath and administer a rabies vaccine contrary to sound medical practice and against the vaccine manufacturers labeled instructions, or recommend their clients break the law by not immunizing their unhealthy pets against rabies. Being compelled by law to vaccinate sick dogs and cats against rabies in order for their clients to comply with the code also puts New Mexicos veterinarians at risk of being held liable for any adverse reactions the animals may suffer after administering a vaccine inconsistently with the labeled directions. Owners of critically ill dogs may choose not to comply with the law rather than jeopardize the lives of their pets and then fail to license their dogs to avoid detection.
On behalf of The Rabies Challenge Fund Charitable Trust and the New Mexico pet owners who have contacted us for assistance, we urge you to initiate legislation to insert a medical exemption clause in Title 7 Chapter 4 Part 2 §184.108.40.206 of the state code. You may contact me at the number below if you would like any scientific data on the rabies vaccine or if you have any questions.
Kris L. Christine
THE RABIES CHALLENGE FUND
cc: Dr. W. Jean Dodds
Dr. Ronald Schultz
New Mexico Legislature
Dr. Tamara Spooner Executive Director, New Mexico Veterinary Medical Association
New Mexico Legislatorshttp://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/legislatorsearch.aspx
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Letter from Chryssa Charalambides
Mark Boitano Representative Gail Chasey
3615 Horacio Court NE 1206 Las Lomas Road NE
Albuquerque, NM 87111 Albuquerque, NM 87106
Dear Senator Boitano and Representative Chasey,
Legislation is needed to provide an exemption from rabies vaccination for pets with existing medical conditions.
My Great Dane, Dalia, has been diagnosed with two autoimmune conditions within the last year and half, vaccine induced Immune Mediated Polyarthritis, diagnosed on 01/11/2009, and Addisons disease, diagnosed on 11/04/2009. Her veterinarian, Dr. Jennifer Strasser, ACVIM of Veterinary Specialists of NM at the Albuquerque Emergency Clinic, feels strongly that further rabies vaccinations would pose serious risk to her health. I have a letter from Dr. Strasser to that effect.
Dog and cat owners in other states with animals suffering from similar autoimmune conditions can have their veterinarian fill out an annual exemption form. The form protects the animals life by legally exempting it from rabies vaccination upon the examination of a veterinarian.
The vaccine manufacturers as well as the USDA state the vaccines should be given only to healthy cats and dogs.
Those of us in New Mexico who own dogs or cats consider them an important member of our families. They are a treasured and extremely important part of our lives. No animal owner in NM should be forced by our state to risk their pets life if a veterinarian has determined that a vaccination would put it in jeopardy.
When I contacted the city of Albuquerque Animal Licensing Services, I was informed that medical exemption is possible in the state of New Mexico, if I submit a letter from my veterinarian stating why the pet cannot be vaccinated. Regardless, New Mexico rabies law does not include a medical exemption clause. Would you please introduce legislation on my behalf that would add a medical exemption clause into our existing state rabies law?
I would be more than happy to speak to you via telephone, email or meet with you in person. Your help in this cause is desperately needed. Thank you for your attention and efforts in advance.
Kris L. Christine
The Rabies Challenge Fund
Las Cruces Sun-News 2/12/11http://www.lcsun-news.com/las_cruces-news/ci_17374067 On the Positive Side: Clairification of Rabies Vaccination Sought
"There is serious concern that vaccination of a dog and cat with medical conditions may jeopardize the life and well being of the cat or dog. There is also a possibility that the vaccine may fail to elicit the appropriate immune response in an unhealthy animal, and that appropriate immune response is necessary for pubic safety.
For these reasons, pet owners across the state are seeking official clarification to the regulation so that exemption waivers can be provided by licensed veterinarians for ill dogs and cats until such time as they can be declared healthy enough to be vaccinated. "
Kris L. Christine
The Rabies Challenge Fund