State changes rabies testing policy

The state Department of Public Health’s (DPH) laboratory in Rocky Hill will no longer provide state-funded testing of rabid wild animals suspected of infecting only domestic pets. The state lab will continue to provide and pay for rabies testing of any wild or domestic animal suspected of carrying rabies if humans have been exposed. This change was effective July 1 and the agency stressed it was not due to state budget cuts.

According to DPH, the new policy will require pet owners to pay for the costs of testing potentially rabid animals who may have infected their unvaccinated pet. This may be done at the University of Connecticut’s Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory. If the wild animal tests negative the pet can be vaccinated and avoid quarantine. If the result is positive, owners can opt to pay to have an their pet quarantined for six months to watch for infection or euthanized.

Vaccinated pets can be observed at home for 45 days.