Rabies Antibody Test for Pet Export—FAVN

By Beth McQuade

So you have a client who is planning on traveling to a rabies-free destination with their animal companion. Now what do you need to do?

Each destination’s quarantine requirements can vary--we recommend going to www.aphis.usda.gov to research your client’s destination(s) specific pet import requirements.

If the destination requires a FAVN (Fluorescent Antibody Virus Neutralization) test to confirm the pet rabies antibody titer, the Kansas State Rabies Laboratory is the only OIE approved rabies laboratory in North America to perform this test for the general public. (The Department of Defense performs this test for military work dogs and military personnel’s pets only.)

Please visit our website (www.ksvdl.org/rabies-laboratory) for updated FAVN submission forms and information. Be sure to fill out the form and verify the “Official Information” (information required by most destinations), which includes the animal’s microchip number, serum draw date & (approved) Veterinarian’s signature. (Note: Additional information is required by some destinations, such as rabies vaccine history and breed; this information is not verified or checked for errors by the laboratory). For testing, a minimum of 1-2 mLs of serum is required. Be sure to clearly label the serum tube with the animal’s name and/or microchip number. All unlabeled tubes, and submissions received without a microchip number are automatically cancelled!

We advise shipping the samples by courier for tracking purposes (contact client care for UPS shipping labels). The sample is stable for several days if shipped on a cool pack. Each individual sample, paperwork, and additional information should be packed in separate plastic bags. Multiple samples can be sent in the same package with a cool pack and suitable packing material (i.e. bubble wrap, paper towels, etc.) to prevent sample tube breakage. Ship to:

Kansas State Rabies Laboratory
2005 Research Park Circle
Manhattan, KS 66502
(785) 532-4483

The turnaround time for FAVN results average between two to three weeks, but may take as long as four weeks. You can monitor your sample’s status per the “FAVN Microchip Status Search” on our website, or by accessing the KSVDL Portal.

So, why does it take so long? Our lab averages between 500-700 FAVN samples per week! We use live cells and virus when performing the tests, and have very stringent guidelines we must follow. Also, one of our three incubation periods is 48 hours!

After results are ready, our staff verifies official information, performs quality control checks, and produces the Official FAVN Reports. Some destinations require the Official FAVN Report to be sent directly to their Quarantine Authority, while others require the result to be sent back to the submitting clinic.

For further information, please contact our lab at 785-532-4483 or email at rabies@vet.k-state.edu.

Beth McQuade completed a Bachelors’ in Animal Science and Industry at Kansas State University in 2009. She is currently a Research Assistant and FAVN Team Leader in the KSVDL Rabies Laboratory.

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