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View Full Version : Rabies testing?



Kerr
04-15-2010, 09:08 PM
Considering you have the animal in hand, a dead bat in this case, can anyone tell me exactly how long it would take to complete testing on whether the animal is carrying rabies?

cscarlet
04-15-2010, 09:33 PM
It's not considered an emergency (if someone's suspected of having been exposed they get the shot anyway, regardless of the test results) so a rabies test will take about 24-72 hours, depending on if the animal is already dead or has to be euthanized.

The test itself actually doesn't take long at all (a few hours if I remember correctly).... but you can only do a rabies test on a piece of brain tissue. So you have to remove the brain samples from the bat and to ship these samples to a laboratory for diagnosis. Not all labs do this: it's usually a State run laboratory or a specialty Veterinary laboratory.

Fenika
04-15-2010, 09:39 PM
It definitely takes more than 24 hours.

Adding to what Scarlet said:

You typically have to ship the sample (the whole head, or sometimes the whole brain if a vet has already removed it). Then they have to prep the sample, which means putting it in formalin until it's fixed, then a process of chemicals and wax to get it set up, then a pathologist can look at the prepared slide.

You can find a TON of rabies info on the CDC page.

Btw, rabies prophalaxis is expensive and required for those who had exposure. Once you have clinical signs, you're a dead human (different with dogs/cats/etc)

Kerr
04-15-2010, 11:50 PM
Thanks so much cscarlet and Fenika. So, I guess I'm assuming correctly that even though bats are carriers, only an infected bat does carry it, even if it doesn't actually get sick? I don't want the bat to have rabies, just the hard to pin down answers to a few silly questions as a starting point to where my new disease kicks in.

ColoradoGuy
04-16-2010, 01:37 AM
Bats are so commonly infected that we assume exposure to rabies if anybody's handled a bat and give them rabies vaccine. If they've been bitten by a wild animal, particularly one in which rabies is common (bats, skunks, raccoons) we give both the vaccine and injections with already-formed antibody (passive immunization) around the area of the bite. Fortunately, rabies develops slowly, so the vaccine can protect the person even after the bite.

Kerr
04-16-2010, 07:45 AM
If they've been bitten by a wild animal, particularly one in which rabies is common (bats, skunks, raccoons) we give both the vaccine and injections with already-formed antibody (passive immunization) around the area of the bite.

Okay, last silly question, promise. I read that the further away a bite, the longer in might take for the virus to reach the brain and symptoms to begin showing up, sometimes even possibly as much as two years. But what if they are bitten on top of the head? And would the shots be injected there if that's the site of the bite?

ColoradoGuy
04-16-2010, 07:51 AM
Okay, last silly question, promise. I read that the further away a bite, the longer in might take for the virus to reach the brain and symptoms to begin showing up, sometimes even possibly as much as two years. But what if they are bitten on top of the head? And would the shots be injected there if that's the site of the bite?
The symptoms can take a long time to develop, and further away (like a hand or foot) is better. I don't know about 2 years, though; I've no data about that, but it seems a bit long. And if a bat bit you on the head we'd inject some of the immunoglobulin into the tissues around the bite on your scalp and give you the rest systemically. We'd also give you the vaccine. Just washing the wound out extensively is important, too.

ETA: Once you've developed symptoms, you're pretty much toast, though. Here (http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/docs/management.pdf) is a CDC publication about the little we've got to offer then.

Jersey Chick
04-16-2010, 04:44 PM
When my daughter went through rabies prophylaxis, it was only the initial shots that were given at the wound site (in her case, her wrist.) The rest were administered to her thigh (IIRC, it was 5 years ago.) Those first ones were the worst. Again, if memory serves, she had two in the wrist, and one in each leg the first time. Then it was one injection per visit, at intervals (which I can't recall right now but it was something like Day 3, 7, 14, & 28.)

It was a looong couple of weeks in our household.