Info Agency Main Banner Content


Indiana Rabies Laws and Regulations

Rule 5. Rabies Immunization
345 IAC 1-5-1 Rabies vaccination

Authority: IC 15-17-3-21
Affected: IC 15-17-3-13; IC 15-17-6

Section 1

  1. For the purpose of administering IC 15-17-6 and this rule, an animal is deemed to be vaccinated for rabies only when the following provisions are met:

    1. The animal is vaccinated by a veterinarian that is:

      1. licensed to practice veterinary medicine; and

      2. accredited by the United States Department of Agriculture under 9 CFR, Subchapter J.

    2. The vaccine used must be licensed and approved by the United States Department of Agriculture. The dosage and administration of the vaccine used must be in accordance with this rule and the manufacturers' specifications described on the vaccine's label and package insert.

  2. The veterinarian performing a rabies vaccination of an animal shall do the following:

    1. Complete a vaccination certificate or computerized record, in triplicate, on each animal being vaccinated for rabies that shall include the following information:

      1. The name and address of the animal's owner.

      2. The species, sex, and age of the animal vaccinated.

      3. The date the animal was vaccinated.

      4. The product name and lot or serial number of the vaccine used.

      5. The date the animal must be revaccinated under section 2 of this rule.

      6. The number of the tag issued if a tag is issued under subdivision (3).

      7. The name of the veterinarian completing the vaccination and his or her Indiana veterinary license number.

    2. The rabies vaccination certificate completed under subdivision (1) shall be distributed as follows:

      1. One (1) copy of the certificate or computerized record shall be given to the owner or custodian of the animal being vaccinated for rabies.

      2. One (1) copy of the certificate or computerized record shall be forwarded to the county health officer or the officer's designated agent upon the county health officer's request, or as the state veterinarian otherwise directs, within thirty (30) days of the vaccination.

      3. One (1) copy of the certificate or computerized record shall be retained by the veterinarian vaccinating such animal covering the period of immunization

    3. A veterinarian that vaccinates a dog, cat, or ferret shall furnish to the owner or custodian of the animal a rabies vaccination identification tag that contains the following:

      1. The veterinarian's or clinic's name and telephone number.

      2. A unique identification number.

      3. The owner or custodian of an animal vaccinated for rabies shall keep a copy of the certificate and tag required to be issued under subsection (b) until such time as the animal must be revaccinated under section 2 of this rule. The board recommends that the owner or custodian of a dog affix the rabies vaccination tag to the collar or harness of the dog and that it be worn at all times. Nothing in this rule shall prevent a local unit of government from requiring that rabies vaccination tags be worn at all times. (d) Animals that have been vaccinated for rabies are subject to all quarantine provisions that may be imposed by state or local regulations. The final determination of an animal's rabies vaccination status shall be made by the state veterinarian.

345 IAC 1-5-2 Required rabies vaccination of dogs, cats, and ferrets
Section 2

All dogs, cats, and ferrets three (3) months of age and older must be vaccinated against rabies. The rabies vaccination of a dog, cat, and ferret shall be maintained by ongoing revaccination of the animal as follows:

  1. Ferrets shall be revaccinated within twelve (12) months of the prior vaccination.

  2. Dogs and cats that are vaccinated with a rabies vaccine whose label recommends annual boosters shall be revaccinated within twelve (12) months of the prior vaccination.

  3. Dogs and cats that are vaccinated with a rabies vaccine whose label recommends a booster one (1) year later and triennially thereafter shall be revaccinated within twelve (12) months of the first vaccination and shall be revaccinated within thirty-six (36) months of each vaccination thereafter. The owner of the animal is responsible for procuring the vaccinations required by this section.

345 IAC 1-5-3 Animal rabies control program
Section 3

  1. The state veterinarian shall establish a statewide animal rabies control program. The rabies control program shall include the following:

    1. The rabies vaccination requirements in this rule.

    2. The rabies vaccine distribution requirements in 345 IAC 1-1.1.

    3. The rabies control requirements for the following:

      1. Moving animals into the state in 345 IAC 1-3.

      2. Exhibition of animals in 345 IAC 7-5.

    4. Other requirements in IC 15-17-6 and this rule.

    5. Other programs initiated by the state veterinarian for the purposes of:

      1. preventing;

      2. detecting;

      3. controlling; and

      4. eradicating;


  2. The following components of the Compendium of Animal Rabies Control, 2016, National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, Inc., are incorporated by reference as rules of the Indiana state board of animal health and shall be used in the implementation of the program established under subsection (a):

    1. Part I(B)(1) "Prevention and control methods in domestic and confined animals" and Part II "Recommendations for Parenteral Rabies Vaccination Procedures" when interpreting and implementing the animal vaccination requirements in this rule.

    2. Part I(B)(5) and Part I(B)(6) "Post-exposure management" when interpreting and implementing IC 15-17-6 governing animal bites.

  3. Where the matters incorporated by reference in this section conflict with the provisions of IC 15-17-6 and this rule, the express provisions of the statute and this rule shall control

NOTE: IC 35-46-3-1 - Harboring a nonimmunized dog

A person who knowingly or intentionally harbors a dog that is over the age of six (6) months and not immunized against rabies commits harboring a nonimmunized dog, a class C infraction. However, the offense is a class B misdemeanor if the dog causes bodily injury by biting a person.

Management of Animal Bites to Humans 410 IAC 1-2.3

410 IAC 1-2.5-80 Animal bites; specific control measures
Authority: IC 16-19-3-4; IC 16-41-2-1
Affected: IC 15-17-6-11; IC 16-41-2; IC 16-41-9

Sec. 80.

(a) The specific control measures for animal bites are as follows:

1. Every case of a human bitten by a domestic or wild mammal shall be reported within twenty-four (24) hours to the local health officer having jurisdiction. If a physician is in attendance, the physician shall report the bite. The report shall include requested information on postexposure rabies prophylaxis if it is being administered to the bite victim. Each reported bite shall be investigated immediately by the local health officer. This investigation shall be conducted with the purpose of determining the need for postexposure rabies prophylaxis of the bite victim and either:

A. imposing a ten (10) day observation period on the biting animal (dog, cat, or ferret only) to determine if the animal was capable of transmitting rabies at the time of the biting incident; or 

B. submission of the head, if the biting animal is a potential rabies vector, to the department laboratory to determine if it was infected with rabies.

2. Isolation of persons is not necessary.

3. Concurrent disinfection is not necessary.

4. Quarantine shall be applied to the biting animal as follows:

A. Any apparently healthy dog, cat, or ferret that has bitten a person, or any dog, cat, or ferret suspected of being rabid shall be confined and held in observation for the period specified in IC 15-17-6-11 (not less than ten (10) days) or humanely killed at once (when necessary) for laboratory examination. The confinement shall be:

i. under the supervision of the state veterinarian or a licensed, accredited veterinarian, or other person designated by the official quarantining the animal; and

ii. at the expense of the owner.

B. Any illness in the confined dog, cat, or ferret shall be reported immediately to the local health department. Animals under confinement shall not be immunized against rabies during the observation period. The head of any such dog, cat, or ferret that dies during the period of observation, or is killed subsequent to having bitten a person or another animal, shall be:

i. removed;

ii. packed in an iced container, but not frozen; and

iii. forwarded immediately to the laboratory of the department for rabies testing.

C. Any unhealthy or terminally injured dog, cat, or ferret that has bitten a person shall be humanely killed immediately for laboratory examination. The animal's owner shall be responsible for having the unhealthy or terminally injured animal euthanized, head removed, and shipped to the department for rabies examination. In the case of a stray animal or an animal whose owner cannot be found, the local health department shall assume this responsibility.

D. Any rabies vector species (including, but not limited to, bats, skunks, raccoons, foxes, and other wild carnivores) that has bitten a human or a domestic animal, or is suspected of being rabid, shall not be placed under observation, but shall be humanely killed at once in a manner that does not cause trauma to the head or brain. The head shall be refrigerated, but not frozen, and submitted within forty-eight (48) hours to the laboratory of the department. Exceptions to this section may be made only at the discretion of the local health officer or the state veterinarian, or both. Animals covered under this section include, but are not limited to, the following:

i. Wild animal species kept as pets.

ii. Wild animal species kept in captivity for any other purpose, including those permitted by the Indiana department of natural resources under 312 IAC 9-10-4, 312 IAC 9-10-9, 312 IAC 9-10-9.5, and 312 IAC 9-10-11.

iii. Wild carnivores crossbred to domestic dogs and cats (hybrids) and their offspring.

E. The bite victim shall be notified after:

i. a dog, cat, or ferret has passed the ten (10) day observation period in a healthy state; or

ii. the results of a laboratory test are available.

F. Any person bitten or scratched by a rabies vector species (raccoon, skunk, fox, or bat) not available for rabies testing should be regarded as having been potentially exposed to rabies. The following chart provides information on quarantine and disposition of biting animals:

Animal Type

Evaluation and Disposition of Animal

Postexposure Prophylaxis Recommendation

Dogs, cats, and ferrets

Healthy and available for 10 day observation1

Should not begin prophylaxis unless animal develops symptoms of rabies2

Rabid or suspected rabid

Immediate post-exposure prophylaxis


Consult public health officials

Skunks, raccoons, bats3, foxes and most other wild carnivores, including those animals kept in captivity or as pets

Regard as rabid unless geographic area is known to be free of rabies or until animal is proven negative by laboratory testing4

Immediate post-exposure prophylaxis if animal is unavailable for testing, or if animal is available for testing, as soon as a positive result is observed

Livestock, rodents, and lagomorphs (rabbits and hares)

Consider individually

Consult public health officials. Bites from squirrels, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, chipmunks, rats, mice, other rodents, rabbits, and hares almost never require anti rabies treatment. Bites from larger rodents (groundhogs, beavers, muskrats) may require anti rabies treatment.

1. If the animal is unhealthy or has a serious injury that would make quarantine inhumane, the stray animal may be euthanized immediately and the head submitted to the rabies laboratory.

2. Postexposure prophylaxis should be started if a veterinarian identifies an animal as being symptomatic. Symptomatic animals should be euthanized and tested immediately.

3. What appears to be insignificant contact with bats may result in rabies transmission, even without clear evidence of a bite. Post-exposure prophylaxis is recommended for all persons with bite, scratch, or mucous membrane exposure to a bat unless the bat is available for testing and is negative for rabies. Post-exposure prophylaxis is appropriate even in the absence of bite, scratch, or mucous membrane exposure in situations in which there is a reasonable probability that such contact occurred (for example, a sleeping individual awakes to find a bat in the room, an adult witnesses a bat in the room with a previously unattended child, mentally challenged person, or intoxicated person) and rabies cannot be ruled out by testing the bat.

4. The animal should be euthanized and tested as soon as possible. Holding for observation is not allowable as time lapse from virus secretion in saliva until clinical symptoms appear have not been determined for species other than a dog, cat, or ferret. Consult with the department veterinary epidemiologist for information on presence or absence of rabies in particular species.

B. All bite wounds should be treated immediately in the following steps:

1. Clean and flush wound as first aid.

2. Thorough wound cleansing under medical supervision.

3. Evaluation of need for post-exposure prophylaxis.

4. Tetanus prophylaxis and antibacterial treatment as needed.

C. If the decision is made to provide post-exposure prophylaxis to the individual, the following protocols must be followed, and a decision to provide post-exposure prophylaxis must be reported to the department:

Guidelines for Post-exposure Prophylaxis

Vaccination Status



Not previously vaccinated

Local wound cleaning

All post-exposure treatment should begin with immediate thorough cleansing of all wounds with soap and water.

Human rabies immune globulin (HRIG)

20 IU/kg body weight. If anatomically feasible, the full dose should be infiltrated around the wound or wounds. Any remaining volume should be administered intramuscularly at a site distant from vaccine inoculation.


Human diploid cell vaccine (HDCV), purified chick embryo cell vaccine (PCEC), or rabies vaccine adsorbed (RVA), 1.0 ml, IM (deltoid1), one dose should be given on days 0, 3, 7, and 14. Immunocompromised individuals may require a 5th vaccine dose to be given on day 28.

Previously vaccinated2

Local wound cleaning

All post-exposure treatment should begin with immediate thorough cleansing of all wounds with soap and water.


Should not be administered to individuals who have been previously vaccinated.


HDCV, PCEC, or RVA, 1.0 ml IM (deltoid1), one dose should be given on days 0 and 3.

*These regimens are applicable for all age groups, including children.

1. The deltoid area is the only acceptable site of vaccination for adults and older children. For younger children, the outer aspect of the thigh may be used. The vaccine should never be administered in the gluteal area. The vaccine should never be administered in the same location with the HRIG.

2. Any person with a history of pre-exposure vaccination with HDCV or RVA, prior post-exposure prophylaxis with HDCV or RVA, or previous vaccination with any other type of rabies vaccine and a documented history of antibody response to the prior vaccination.

D. Case definition is established by the department. (Indiana State Department of Health; 410 IAC 1-2.5-80)