Failure to perform exams prior to vaccination can put a veterinarian’s reputation at risk, and clients who allow veterinarians to vaccinate without an examination may be endangering their animal's welfare.

Animals in NY can be certified exempt from compulsory rabies vaccination if a licensed veterinarian finds that such vaccination would adversely affect the animal's health.  Therefore, a professional examination prior to vaccination is advisable in order to evaluate the animal’s condition.  See the rabies law for companion animals at, paragraph 2(c).

In addition, the PDF at contains NYSED’s practice guidelines for veterinary medicine and it says on page 7:


2.1 The veterinarian should:


A.    provide professional services in a timely manner;


B.    conduct a complete physical examination, including, but not limited to, weight (small companion animals), TPR, auscultation of              heart and lungs, ocular and otic systems, integument, and musculoskeletal system, on every patient or a number of representative        members of a herd or flock; …


On page 14 of the practice guidelines, paragraph 5.11 says that veterinarians should establish a VCPR and it states that a timely examination of the patient is necessary to create and/or maintain one.  Further, adequate patient records include information that can only be obtained during an examination (see page 15).

Legal Review: Nov 2017