Arizona bill waives rabies vaccine mandate for some dogs

The Arizona Senate has voted to allow dog owners to demonstrate their pet has immunity to rabies instead of giving a booster vaccine for the deadly disease.

The measure was given preliminary approval on Wednesday but still needs a final Senate vote.

Republican Sen. Nancy Barto of Phoenix says she introduced the bill at the request of constituents who say some animals have adverse reactions to vaccines.

The measure would allow them to meet rabies vaccine mandates by performing a titer test showing the pet has antibodies. Critics say the measure is dangerous and could lead to increased cases of rabies.

"There’s been a backlash and a fearmongering about allowing pet owners that are concerned about this to take this step so they can avoid these adverse events for their pet," Barto said. "I don’t think this is going to be a widespread practice that could endanger the public."

Democratic Sen. Christine Marsh of Phoenix said veterinarians warned that a test can’t tell if immunity will last for the entire year for which the dog would be exempt from a rabies booster.

"We don’t know whether the titers will actually last for a year or not," Marsh said. "They might actually only last 60 days."

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