Submission of Animal Specimens for Rabies Testing

Policy

Category: Rabies
Subject: Submission of Animal Specimens for Rabies Testing
Division: Health Protection
Policy Number: CA.81.01.104
Effective Date: January 26, 2016

POLICY STATEMENT

It is the policy of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) that when an animal confinement cannot be completed, as per Ontario Regulation 557/90 – Communicable Diseases- General, and the animal is available, it shall be euthanized humanely, without injury to the head, and submitted by the Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians, to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Rabies Diagnostic Laboratory in Ottawa.

Public Health Inspectors routinely perform investigations for animal bites and exposures to humans, to determine if rabies was transmitted at the time of exposure. If animal confinement is not an option, laboratory examination and testing of the animals’ brain is the single method to determine if the animal was carrying the Rabies virus. This supports Public Health in recommending post-exposure prophylaxes treatment, in consultation with the patients’ physician.

SCOPE

This policy applies to all WDGPH employees working in Health Protection General Program.

DEFINITIONS

OAVT - Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians staff will collect and prepare specimens for transportation to the Ottawa laboratory.

Post-exposure prophylaxes – In Canada, post-exposure prophylaxis consists of a regimen of one dose of immune globulin and four doses of rabies vaccine over a 14-21day period. 

Rabies – A preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal, whereby it infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death.

REFERENCES AND RELATED FORMS, POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Corresponding Procedure:  CA. 81.02.104 Submission of Animal Specimens for Rabies Testing
MOHLTC Guidance Document for the Management of Suspected Rabies Exposures, as current
MOHLTC Rabies Prevention and Control Protocol, as current
Rabies Testing At the CFIA: Weekend/Holiday Testing, as current
OAVT Specimen Collection Request Information Form, as current

CONTACT FOR INQUIRIES

Manager, Health Protection Division

APPROVED BY

Director, Health Protection  


Procedure

Category: Rabies
Subject: Submission of Animal Specimens for Rabies Testing
Division: Health Protection
Procedure Number: CA.81.02.104
Effective Date: January 26, 2016

PROCEDURE

  1. If the animal dies while under confinement, or must be euthanized for various reasons before the ten-day confinement completion, the Public Health Inspector (PHI) shall make arrangements with the Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians (OAVT) for collection and shipping the animal specimen to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) laboratory for rabies testing, in Ottawa.
  2. Requests for approval to euthanize an animal as an alternative to confinement may be approved only in special circumstances due to the expense incurred. Special circumstances could be when confinement would be inhumane (e.g. an injured or sick animal) or when an animal is so aggressive that it cannot be safely confined.
  3. Wild or unwanted animals will be euthanized in a manner which protects the head.  The investigating PHI will make arrangements with the OAVT for collection and shipping the animal specimen to CFIA for rabies testing.  The contact information for the OAVT and the CFIA weekend/holiday schedule can be found under S:\health_protection\Rabies.
  4. Except for muskrats and groundhogs, rodents such as mice, rats, squirrels, hamsters, chipmunks, gerbils, and moles will not be sent for testing unless the incident was unprovoked.
  5. The investigating PHI will complete the Specimen Collection Request Information Form, found under S:\health_protection\Rabies\Rabies Specimen Submission, and follow the instructions for submission to the OAVT.
  6. Results of the post mortem rabies test (FAT) are to be entered into the electronic file in Hedgehog and saved under S:\health_protection\Rabies\Rabies test results (Current Year).
  7. Collection and transportation materials will be provided to OAVT by WDGPH. The HPD GP PA will maintain an inventory of supplies, and will re-order from the Ontario Government Pharmacy as needed.

REFERENCES AND RELATED FORMS, POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Corresponding Policy:  CA. 81.01.104 Submission of Animal Specimens for Rabies Testing
MOHLTC Guidance Document for the Management of Suspected Rabies Exposures, as current
MOHLTC Rabies Prevention and Control Protocol, as current
Rabies Testing At the CFIA: Weekend/Holiday Testing, as current
OAVT Specimen Collection Request Information Form, as current

CONTACT FOR INQUIRIES

Manager, Health Protection 

APPROVED BY

Director, Health Protection