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Rabies: Small Rodents

Animals include mouse, rat, chipmunk, squirrel, hamster, gerbil, guinea pig or lagomorph (rabbit, hare).

Return to Rabies prevention flowchart introduction

Rabies prophylaxis is almost never necessary except under unusual circumstances (e.g., animal exhibiting bizarre behavior or acting overtly sick).

Due to the extremely low risk of rabies which these animals present, testing them for rabies is not indicated unless unusual circumstances exist. If such unusual circumstances do exist, submit specimen to State Laboratory of Hygiene as soon as possible.

Small rodents (e.g., squirrels, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, chipmunks, rats, and mice) and lagomorphs (rabbits and hares), whether wild or kept as pets, are rarely found to be infected with rabies and have not been known to transmit rabies to humans.

In all cases involving rodents, the state or local health department should be consulted before a decision is made to initiate antirabies post-exposure prophylaxis.

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Last revised July 18, 2020