FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- The Department of Public Health's State Laboratory will no longer provide state-funded testing for rabies in wild animals, unless humans were exposed.
"The mission of the department is to protect human health, and this change was made to keep us aligned with that mission," said Dr. Jafar Razeq, DPH State Laboratory Director. "Any potentially rabid animal that comes in contact with a human resulting in an exposure according to national guidelines will continue to be tested in our lab. Pet owners who keep their pets' rabies vaccinations up to date as required by state law will not be impacted by this change."
The lab will continue to provide and fund rabies testing of any wild or domestic animal suspected of carrying rabies if humans have been exposed.
However, pet owners will pay the costs for testing potentially rabid animals that may have infected their pet.
The new rule primarily affects owners with pets that have not been properly vaccinated.
Pet owners can opt to pay to have their unvaccinated pet quarantined for six months to watch for infection or euthanize their pet.
Owners who wish to have a wild animal tested can take it to the University of Connecticut's Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory for a modest fee. If the test is negative, then the owner can vaccinate the pet and avoid quarantine.
A total of 69 percent of animals tested during 2014-15 were for domestic pet exposure, rather than human exposure.
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