If your pet gets bitten by a wild animal and there hasn’t been any human exposure, the Department of Public Health right now brings the wild animal to the State Public Health Laboratory in Rocky Hill to get tested for rabies -- DPH pays for those tests.
Come July 1, that will change: DPH will no longer pay for rabies testing when people aren’t affected by it a rabid wild animal.
“We’ve developed a new protocol which will reduce the burden of the state laboratory which is quite significant. We test over 2000 animals a year in the state of Connecticut,” said Dr. Randall Nelson, State Department of Public Health Veterinarian.
It’s unclear how much DPH would be saving by not testing those animals.
Instead of DPH taking the animals to their Rocky Hill Laboratory, the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory at UConn has agreed to take over the rabies testing of wild animals not exposed to humans. The new protocal gives pet owners the option to take it to the lab themselves and pay for it.
“I mean I guess it depends on how much the test is also because if it’s a $50 test then it’s not so bad but if it’s like a $200 test then you know that would be a little chunk out of a paycheck or two,” said dog owner Jeannine Thomas of Hartford.
DPH says each test would cost a minimum of about $50 dollars depending on the size of the animal.
“These are incidents that do not involve people and so do not have a public health impact,” said Nelson.
DPH wants to stress that reducing costs has nothing to do with the massive budget gap the state is currently facing.
They say the high number of tests has been a problem the last 5 years and the timing is just coincidental.