Exotic Pet Species

two guinea pigs on the ground

Other exotic mammals kept as pets such as hamsters, guinea pigs, rats, and mice are considered the same as other wildlife species. Consultation should be sought from local or state health departments regarding decisions on postexposure prophylaxis.

Use of rabies vaccines in these species constitutes off-label usage. Vaccination may reduce the risk of rabies in these species, but does not eliminate the risk. Efficacy of rabies vaccines have not been demonstrated in any exotic pet species, and are not licensed for these animals. Furthermore, observation periods are not recommended with these species since virus shedding periods before onset of clinical signs are unknown. Considerations should be made to the housing of the animal, its potential to be exposed to and acquire rabies, and the circumstances of the potential exposure to a human or domestic animal.

In situations where rabies is suspected in an exotic pet species (to which a human or domestic animal exposure has occurred) it is recommended to euthanize and test the animal for rabies.