Back to Client Info Index
Selected information from:
Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control, 2002
(Note from Dr. McKee - The "Compendium"
serves as the standard that veterinarians in the United States
are supposed to follow regarding rabies prevention and control.
It is reviewed each year by:)
The National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians Committee
D) WILDLIFE AND HYBRID ANIMAL VACCINATION: The efficacy of parenteral rabies vaccination of wildlife and hybrids (the offspring of wild animals crossbred to domestic dogs and cats) has not been established, and no such vaccine is licensed for these animals. Zoos or research institutions may establish vaccination programs which attempt to protect valuable animals, but these should not replace appropriate public health activities that protect humans.
5) POSTEXPOSURE MANAGEMENT
ANY ANIMAL POTENTIALLY EXPOSED TO RABIES VIRUS (See Part III, A. 1. Rabies Exposure) BY A WILD, CARNIVOROUS MAMMAL OR A BAT THAT IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR TESTING SHOULD BE REGARDED AS HAVING BEEN EXPOSED TO RABIES.
a) DOGS, CATS, AND FERRETS
Unvaccinated dogs, cats, and ferrets exposed to a rabid animal should be euthanized immediately. If the owner is unwilling to have this done, the animal should be placed in strict isolation for 6 months and vaccinated 1 month before being released. Animals with expired vaccinations need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Dogs, cats, and ferrets that are currently vaccinated should be revaccinated immediately, kept under the owner's control, and observed for 45 days.
All species of livestock are susceptible to rabies; cattle and horses are among the most frequently infected. Livestock exposed to a rabid animal and currently vaccinated with a vaccine approved by USDA for that species should be revaccinated immediately and observed for 45 days. Unvaccinated livestock should be slaughtered immediately. If the owner is unwilling to have this done, the animal should be kept under close observation for 6 months.
The following are recommendations for owners of unvaccinated livestock exposed to rabid animals:
1) If the animal is slaughtered within 7 days of being bitten,
its tissues may be eaten without risk of infection, provided that
liberal portions of the exposed area are discarded. Federal meat
inspectors must reject for slaughter any animal known to have
been exposed to rabies within 8 months.
2) Neither tissues nor milk from a rabid animal should be used for human or animal consumption. Pasteurization temperatures will inactivate rabies virus, therefore, drinking pasteurized milk or eating cooked meat does not constitute a rabies exposure.
3) Having more than one rabid animal in a herd or having herbivore-to-herbivore transmission is uncommon; therefore, restricting the rest of the herd if a single animal has been exposed to or infected by rabies might not be necessary.
c) OTHER ANIMALS
Other mammals bitten by a rabid animal should be euthanized immediately. Animals maintained in USDA licensed research facilities or accredited zoological parks should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
6) MANAGEMENT OF ANIMALS THAT BITE HUMANS
a) A healthy dog, cat, or ferret that bites a person should
be confined and observed daily for 10 days; administration of
rabies vaccine is not recommended during the observation period.
Such animals should be evaluated by a veterinarian at the first
sign of illness during confinement. Any illness in the animal
should be reported immediately to the local health department.
If signs suggestive of rabies develop, the animal should be euthanized
and the head shipped for testing as described in (c) below. Any
stray or unwanted dog, cat, or ferret that bites a person may
be euthanized immediately and the head submitted for rabies examination.
b) Other biting animals which might have exposed a person to rabies should be reported immediately to the local health department. Prior vaccination of an animal may not preclude the necessity for euthanasia and testing if the period of virus shedding is unknown for that species. Management of animals other than dogs, cats, and ferrets depends on the species, the circumstances of the bite, the epidemiology of rabies in the area, and the biting animal's history, current health status, and potential for exposure to rabies.
c)Rabies testing should be done by a qualified laboratory, designated by the local or state health department. Euthanasia3 should be accomplished in such a way as to maintain the integrity of the brain so that the laboratory can recognize the anatomical parts. Except in the case of very small animals, such as bats, only the head or brain (including brain stem) should be submitted to the laboratory. Any animal or animal part being submitted for testing should be kept under refrigeration (not frozen or chemically fixed) during storage and shipping.
1. Rupprecht CE, et. al. Brief report: human infection due to recombinant vaccinia-rabies glycoprotein virus. N Engl J Med 2001; 345:582-586.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Human rabies prevention-United States, 1999. Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 1999;48(No. RR-1).
3. 2000 Report of the AVMA panel on euthanasia. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:669-696.