Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health
South Dakota Department of Health

How to Submit Animal Specimens for Rabies Testing

  1. Call the South Dakota Department of Health to report the possible exposure and to seek guidance in how to submit the animal for testing. Call 1-800-592-1861 or 605-773-3737 during regular business hours. For emergencies, after hours, on weekends or holidays, call 1-800-592-1861. Staff will be able to answer questions and concerns. If at all possible, please call before destroying the suspect animal.

  2. Call one of the above numbers to make special arrangements for shipping an animal specimen after regular business hours, on weekends or holidays.

  3. Notify the South Dakota Public Health Laboratory (SDPHL) of all impending shipments of animal specimens before actual transport. Call the lab at 1-800-592-1861 or 605-773-3368 during regular business hours. After hours, on weekends or holidays, call 1-800-592-1861.

  4. Be careful not to destroy the head of the animal by gunshot or bludgeoning. Take the animal to a veterinarian for removal of the head in order to preserve the brain tissue and prevent unnecessary exposure to a diseased animal.

  5. Include with the specimen, a SDPHL submission form with the following information:
    *Name and birth date of person exposed (or owner if pet exposure)
    *Type of animal and exposure, including exposure date/suspect animal death date
    *Symptoms and/or unusual behavior of suspect animal
    *Name and phone number of veterinarian or physician
    (Request submission form from veterinarian or physician, or download the form here.

  6. Wrap animal head carefully and either ship or deliver directly to the lab in an insulated container with ice or ice packs. SPECIMEN MUST NOT BE FROZEN. Transport the specimen by the quickest means possible.
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