How to Test a Dog for Rabies in Kentucky

How to Test a Dog for Rabies in Kentuckythumbnail
Bat bites are often the cause of undetected rabies.
Rabies is an infectious disease that affects animals and humans. People become infected by being bitten by an infected animal. The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services website notes that domestic animals such as dogs, cats, horses and cattle make up less than 10 percent of all reported animal rabies cases. At this time, there is only one accurate way to determine if a dog has rabies and it requires euthanasia. In some cases, the local health department will quarantine dogs or cats for 10 days in an effort to determine if they have rabies before euthanizing a pet for rabies testing.



  1. If You Are Bitten Or Scratched.

    • 1
      Wash the wound for 10 minutes with soap and water if a dog with no known rabies vaccine has bitten or scratched you.
    • 2
      Call your doctor or go to your local emergency room. It is important that you seek medical help after being bitten by a dog that could potentially have rabies. Rabies is very treatable in humans but only if it is caught before any symptoms appear.
    • 3
      Contact animal control and give them a description of the dog if it is not a dog familiar to you.
    • 4
      Confine the dog when possible. If the dog is aggressive and can not be safely confined try to keep an eye on the dog until animal control arrives. If the dog shows no symptoms of rabies, it will be quarantined for further observation before a decision is made on whether or not to euthanize the dog.

    If Your Dog Is Bitten Or Scratched.

    • 1
      Call your veterinarian. If your dog is up to date with his shots, it is not likely that he will become infected with rabies. In these cases your dog will receive an immediate vaccine and be held for 45 days for observation.
    • 2
      Confine your pet in a crate, carrier or room. The Kentucky Health Department website states that any animal that is bitten by a wild animal that is not available for testing should be treated as having been exposed to rabies. You should wear gloves when handling your dog to avoid contact with the saliva of the animal that bit your dog.
    • 3
      Leave your dog with the vet to be quarantined if he has never received a rabies vaccine. A dog with no rabies vaccine may be euthanized for testing if the owner is willing to allow it. The quarantine time for dogs with no vaccination is six months of strict isolation. The dog will be vaccinated one month before being released.
    • 4
      Consult your vet in regard to a dog that has had a rabies vaccine that is now expired. In these instances, the course of action is decided on a case-by-case basis, according to the Kentucky Health Department.

    If A Dog Shows Symptoms Of Rabies.

    • 1
      Confine the dog if possible. Use gloves to handle the dog if you must have contact with it. According to the Mercer County Health Department website, symptoms of rabies in animals may include problems swallowing, change in behavior, drooling, general illness and aggression.
    • 2
      Contact a vet or animal control. The dog will be picked up or, if you have it confined in a crate or carrier, you may be asked to bring it there.
    • 3
      Give or leave the dog with a vet or animal control. The dog will be medically euthanized to protect the head and brain. A fresh brain tissue sample will be sent for testing. This is the only reliable rabies test at this time. If a dog is already dead, contact animal control for a container and information on how to collect and submit a specimen for testing

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