Rabies Information for Health Professionals
All positive rabies cases in Minnesota are investigated by the Minnesota Board of Animal Health and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Acute Disease Investigation and Control Section.
Your role as a Health Care Professional
Help prevent the spread of rabies:
- Encourage clients to maintain current rabies vaccinations for their pets and horses.
- If your client or their pets or livestock have been exposed to a wild animal, the wild animal should be submitted whenever possible to the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for rabies testing. Questions about exposure to animals may be referred to the Board of Animal Health.
- If your client has been bitten by a domestic or wild animal, inform them of proper protocol under Minnesota's Rabies Rules (Part 1721.0580). You may contact MDH for additional advice.
Animal rabies vaccines may only be administered by or under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. The veterinarian that administers the vaccine must sign a rabies vaccination certificate for each animal. The certificate must include the following details:
- Name, address, and telephone number of the owner;
- Pet's name, breed, size, sex, age, species, and color;
- Vaccine name, manufacturer, serial number, expiration date, and duration of immunity;
- Rabies tag number;
- Date the vaccine was administered;
- Name, address, and license number of the veterinarian who administered or supervised the administration of the vaccine; and
- Due date of the next rabies vaccination.
Submitting animals for rabies testing
Specimens for rabies testing should be submitted to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) and should be hand-delivered whenever possible. If hand-delivery is not possible, submissions may be sent by a direct delivery service to:
Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
University of Minnesota
1333 Gortner Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108
A Rabies Specimen Submission Form available from the VDL should accompany the sample. Specific instructions for collection and submission are on the back of the form. You can contact the VDL at 612-625-8787 or 800-605-8787 with questions.
Domestic animals exposed to a rabid animal
- Domestic animals determined to have been bitten or otherwise exposed to a rabid animal must be confined and observed, euthanized, or quarantined by a Board of Animal Health District Veterinarian. An animal that is currently vaccinated for rabies must be kept under confinement and observed for signs of rabies for 45 days and, unless exempted by the board, revaccinated for rabies within three days of the exposure.
- An animal for which there is a licensed rabies vaccine, but which has never been vaccinated for rabies, must be euthanized or quarantined for 180 days.
- All other animals will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The board may require the exposed animal to be euthanized, quarantined, or confined for up to 180 days. The board may also require the animal to be vaccinated for rabies.
Established quarantines may be released after the animal has been examined by a veterinarian and a written report is received by the Board. No dog, cat, or ferret may be released from quarantine unless it is currently vaccinated for rabies.
Any domesticanimal for which there is a clinical suspicion of rabies as determined by a veterinarian should be reported to the Board immediately.
Livestock for Slaughter
Livestock exposed to a known or suspect rabid animal may not be presented for slaughter at a state or federally inspected facility until eight months after exposure. Prior to eight months the exposed or potentially exposed animal will be rejected for slaughter. Owners of affected livestock may consider home or custom slaughter as an alternative to waiting eight months though this is strongly discouraged.
Animal Bites to Humans
Humans exposed to potentially rabid, test-positive, or clinically diagnosed rabid animals should contact their physician and MDH for advice as soon as possible after exposure.
A pet dog, cat, or ferret that bites a human must be euthanized and tested for rabies, or confined and observed for TEN days. A dog, cat, or ferret that is currently vaccinated for rabies may be confined in the home or as directed by local authorities. A dog, cat, or ferret that is not currently vaccinated for rabies may be required by local authorities to be confined at a veterinary clinic or other secure location at the owner's expense. If the animal dies or shows signs suggestive of rabies during the ten days, it must be submitted for rabies testing.
Stray dogs, cats, or ferrets that bite a human may be confined and observed for ten days or euthanized and submitted for testing after a five-day holding period. Euthanisia and rabies testing may be performed prior to the end of the five-day holding period if requested by MDH.
An animal other than a dog, cat, or ferret that bites a human must be managed on a case-by-case basis based on the recommendations of MDH. The animals may be required to be confined and observed for signs suggestive of rabies. If MDH requests a rabies test, the animal must be euthanized and tested for rabies.
Please contact local animal control for assistance in capturing a wild animal. Local animal control, and law enforcement officials are responsible for enforcement of laws related to animal bites.