SECTION 169.27. Quarantine Method and Testing  


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  • (a) When a dog, cat, or domestic ferret that has bitten a human has been identified, the custodian will place the animal (regardless of its vaccination status) in quarantine as defined in the Texas Health and Safety Code, §826.002, until the end of the 10-day observation period. The animal must also be quarantined if there is probable cause to believe that it has otherwise exposed a human to rabies. The observation period will begin at the time of the exposure. The animal must be placed in a department-licensed quarantine facility specified by the local rabies control authority and observed at least twice daily. However, the local rabies control authority may allow the animal to be quarantined in a veterinary clinic. As an alternative to quarantine at a department-licensed facility or a veterinary clinic, the local rabies control authority may allow home confinement. To allow home confinement, the following criteria must be met.

    (1) A secure enclosure approved by the local rabies control authority must be used to prevent escape.

    (2) The animal has been vaccinated against rabies and the time elapsed since the most recent vaccination has not exceeded the manufacturer recommendations for the vaccine. If an unvaccinated animal is not over 16 weeks of age at the time of the potential exposure, it may be allowed home confinement.

    (3) During the confinement period, the animal's custodian must monitor the animal's behavior and health status and immediately notify the local rabies control authority if any change is noted.

    (4) The local rabies control authority or a veterinarian must observe the animal at least on the first and last days of the home confinement.

    (5) The animal was not a stray as defined in the Texas Health and Safety Code, §826.002, at the time of the potential exposure.

    (b) If the potential rabies exposure described in subsection (a) of this section occurs in a city or county other than where the animal's custodian resides, the animal may be transferred to a department-licensed quarantine facility or a veterinary clinic in the city or county of the custodian's residence or allowed home confinement, if applicable, if there is mutual agreement to do so between the local rabies control authorities for the city or county where the exposure occurred and where the custodian resides.

    (c) The alternative to quarantining (to include home confining) a dog, cat, or domestic ferret that has bitten or otherwise potentially exposed a person to rabies as described in subsection (a) of this section is to have the animal euthanatized in such a manner that the brain is not damaged and a suitable specimen submitted to a department-designated laboratory for rabies testing. A list of department-designated laboratories may be found on the department's website or may be obtained from any of the department's regional Zoonosis Control offices.

    (d) A domestic animal that has potentially exposed a human to rabies and has been designated by the local rabies control authority as unowned may be euthanatized. If the animal is euthanatized, a suitable specimen shall be submitted for rabies testing.

    (e) "Free-roaming animals" as used in this section includes animals that have been in captivity less than 200 days immediately prior to the potential exposure and those that are not in captivity. If the animal implicated in the potential exposure is a free-roaming high-risk animal, it shall be euthanatized and a suitable specimen submitted for rabies testing. If the animal implicated in the potential exposure is a high-risk animal that has been in captivity without contact with free-roaming animals for 200 days or more immediately prior to the potential exposure or is less than 200 days old, has always been in captivity without contact with free-roaming animals, and is the progeny of a dam that has been in captivity without contact with free-roaming animals for 200 days or more immediately prior to the potential exposure, the local rabies control authority shall conduct a risk assessment to gauge the probability that the animal could have been exposed to rabies and, therefore, poses a public health risk. If the probability that the animal implicated in the potential exposure could have had animal contact conducive to rabies transmission is low and the potential exposure poses a negligible public health risk, the local rabies control authority may require that the animal involved in the potential exposure be quarantined at a department-licensed quarantine facility or a veterinary clinic or confined elsewhere as deemed appropriate by the local rabies control authority for a 30-day observation period as an alternative to euthanatizing and testing. The local rabies control authority or a veterinarian must observe the animal at least on the first and last days of the quarantine or confinement that was deemed appropriate by the local rabies control authority.

    (f) If the animal implicated in the potential exposure is a low-risk animal, neither quarantine nor rabies testing will be required unless the local rabies control authority has cause to believe the animal is rabid, in which case it shall be euthanatized and a suitable specimen submitted for rabies testing.

    (g) The local rabies control authority may require an animal that has inflicted multiple bite wounds, punctures, or lacerations to a person to be euthanatized. If the animal is euthanatized, a suitable specimen shall be submitted for rabies testing.

    (h) If the animal implicated in the potential exposure is not included in subsection (a), (b), (c), (d), (f), or (g) of this section or the portion of subsection (e) of this section pertaining to a free-roaming high-risk animal, the animal either will be euthanatized and a suitable specimen submitted for rabies testing or the local rabies control authority may require the animal to be quarantined at a department-licensed quarantine facility or a veterinary clinic or confined elsewhere as deemed appropriate by the local rabies control authority for the 30-day observation period as an alternative to euthanatizing and testing. The local rabies control authority's decision on whether to quarantine or euthanatize and test those other animals described in subsection (e) of this section will be determined by risk-assessment parameters as described in subsection (e) of this section. If the potential rabies exposure occurs in a city or county other than where the animal's custodian resides, the animal may be transferred to a department-licensed quarantine facility or a veterinary clinic in the city or county of the custodian's residence or allowed confinement deemed appropriate if there is mutual agreement to do so between the local rabies control authorities for the city or county where the exposure occurred and where the custodian resides. During the observation period, the animal's custodian must monitor the animal's behavior and health status and immediately notify the local rabies control authority if any change is noted. The local rabies control authority or a veterinarian must observe the animal at least on the first and last days of the quarantine or confinement that was deemed appropriate by the local rabies control authority.

    (i) Any animal required to be quarantined under this section that cannot be maintained in secure quarantine shall be euthanatized and a suitable specimen submitted for rabies testing.

    (j) All laboratory specimens referred to in subsections (c) - (i) of this section shall be submitted in accordance with §169.33 of this title (relating to Submission of Specimens for Laboratory Examination).

    (k) At the discretion of the local rabies control authority, assistance animals may not be required to be placed in quarantine (to include confinement) during the observation period. During the applicable observation period, the animal's custodian must monitor the animal's behavior and health status and immediately notify the local rabies control authority if any change is noted. The local rabies control authority or a veterinarian must observe the animal at least at the beginning and on the last day of the applicable observation period.

    (l) Police service animals are exempted from quarantine per the Texas Health and Safety Code, §826.048, including confinement. During the applicable observation period, the animal's custodian must monitor the animal's behavior and health status and immediately notify the local rabies control authority if any change is noted.

    (m) Animals should not be vaccinated against rabies or receive other vaccinations or non-essential medications that may complicate assessment of behavioral change or health status during the observation period; however, animals may be treated for medical problems that are diagnosed by a veterinarian and are not related to rabies. If the animal becomes ill during the observation period, the local rabies control authority must be notified by the person having possession of the animal.

Source Note: The provisions of this §169.27 adopted to be effective April 1, 1980, 5 TexReg 812; amended to be effective March 29, 1988, 13 TexReg 1337; amended to be effective February 22, 1993, 18 TexReg 845; amended to be effective February 21, 1996, 21 TexReg 963; amended to be effective August 21, 1996, 21 TexReg 7660; amended to be effective July 12, 1998, 23 TexReg 7224; amended to be effective March 19, 2003, 28 TexReg 2341; amended to be effective December 20, 2007, 32 TexReg 9341; amended to be effective March 31, 2013, 38 TexReg 1994