What happens if my pet (cat, dog, ferret) is bitten by a wild animal?

Any animal bitten or scratched by either a wild, carnivorous mammal or a bat that is not available for testing should be regarded as having been exposed to rabies. 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 and cats that are currently vaccinated are kept under observation for 45 days.

For information on rabies in domestic ferrets, see: Niezgoda, M., Briggs, D. J., Shaddock, J., Dreesen, D. W, and Rupprecht, C. E (1997). Pathogenesis of experimentally induced rabies in domestic ferrets. American Journal of Veterinary Research, 58(11), 1327-1331.

Show All Answers

1. When is the Middlesex County Rabies Clinic?
2. How can I protect my pet from rabies?
3. Why does my pet need the rabies vaccine?
4. What happens if a neighborhood dog or cat bites me?
5. What happens if my pet (cat, dog, ferret) is bitten by a wild animal?
6. I am moving to a rabies-free country and want to take my pets with me. Where can I get more information?