Animal Bites and Recommendations
Missouri State Law requires the Cooper County Public Health Center to follow-up on animal bites or injuries to humans. If you have received an animal bite/injury you may self-report to our office. If you receive care from a local medical provider they must report the injury by law. One of our staff members will contact you with information and recommendations should your animal need to be quarantined.
- The only species for which the 10-day quarantine is formally recognized are dogs, cats, and ferrets. Wild animals are never quarantined (they are euthanized and tested, with the exception of very low-risk species such as lagomorphs and small rodents). Large domestic animals (cattle, horses, etc.) and captive wild animals (e.g., non-human primates) are handled on a case-by-case basis.
- If a quarantine is warranted, the LPHA should contact the animal owner to establish quarantine at an animal control facility (if available) or local veterinarian's clinic (at animal owner’s expense as required in 322.140 RSMo). A home quarantine may be acceptable under some circumstances, as described below.
- If a secure animal control facility or veterinarian’s clinic is not available/used, the owner must quarantine the animal in a secure location and will assume all liability for the quarantine (including patient medical care if the animal escapes from quarantine and post exposure prophylaxis is required).
- If the owner is unwilling to quarantine the animal; DHSS may issue an “Order of Quarantine” to the local law enforcement official to quarantine the animal.
- Testing of animals for rabies in lieu of quarantine is indicated in some instances, including: o Dogs, cats, and ferrets currently exhibiting symptoms compatible with rabies. o Unwanted dogs, cats, and ferrets that would be euthanized following a quarantine (if one was to be accomplished). o Wild animals, with the usual exception of lagomorphs (rabbits) and small rodents.
- Animals are tested for rabies by having the brain tested at the State Public Health Laboratory (SPHL) or the Springfield-Greene County Health Department Laboratory. There are no reliable rabies tests that can be conducted on a living animal.
- The person in possession of the animal (owner, animal control officer, etc.) should present the animal to a veterinarian for euthanasia, removal of the head, and packaging of the specimen for shipment to the laboratory. These procedures may vary with the species of animal involved, e.g., the entire body of small animals such as puppies and kittens may be shipped to the laboratory in lieu of removing the head; the brain of very large animals (horses, cattle) should be removed from the skull and shipped to the laboratory. The Cooper County Public Health Center is not responsible for any costs associated with head removal, shipping or testing.