Ask the Vet
Mon May 25, 2015 10:44 AM CDT

Question: How do you determine if a live animal has rabies?

Answer: The only definitive test is one requiring the animal be euthanized. To rule out rabies, a test must include tissue samples from at least two locations in the brain, preferably the brain stem and the cerebellum.

The most commonly used test for detection is the fluorescent antibody test. Rabies' specific antibody is combined with a detector molecule that binds with the virus and can be detected using fluorescent microscopy. In simple terms, the rabies virus/antibody/detector molecule complex glows under ...

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