Skip to main content

Rabies General FAQ

Do we have rabies in Oklahoma?

Yes. Several types of animals in Oklahoma have tested positive for rabies by the OSDH Public Health Lab (PHL), including skunks, bats, dogs, cats, cattle, horses, and other animals.

What animals get rabies?

All warm-blooded animals are at risk of developing rabies.

Which animals in Oklahoma are the main carriers of rabies?

The skunk and bat are the two main carriers of rabies in Oklahoma.

What should I do if a wild animal bites my pet?

  1. If you have the wild animal, it can be euthanized and sent in for rabies testing.  If you are going to euthanize the animal, do not shoot it in the head.
  2. If the animal in unavailable for testing, speak with your veterinarian about receiving a booster rabies vaccine for your pet.

For all animal rabies vaccine questions please read Rabies Animal Vaccine – Frequently Asked Questions.

What are the symptoms of rabies in humans?

The symptoms of rabies in humans vary, and if you are experiencing any symptoms after a bite, speak with your healthcare provider.  If your healthcare provider feels you are experiencing symptoms of rabies, he/she may consult with an infectious disease physician or refer you to a hospital.  You may be experiencing symptoms of a bacterial infection and not symptoms of rabies.

How long from the time I was exposed (for example, bitten) will I develop symptoms?

The average incubation period is one to three months, but can range from several days to one year after exposure.

How soon do I need to get the rabies post exposure shots?

If you were recommended to receive post exposure shots, we recommend you receive the shots as soon as possible.  After the bite you do have time to look for an animal for 72 hours, have the animal tested for rabies at the OSDH Public Health Lab, or observe a dog/cat/ferret for 10 days.

Where do I get the rabies post exposure shots?

The Oklahoma State Department of Health and County Health Departments do not offer the rabies post exposure shots.  A healthcare provider at your clinic or hospital will need to provide the rabies post exposure shots.

Can I be tested for rabies?

OSDH Public Health Laboratory, hospital laboratories, and reference laboratories do not test humans for rabies.  The OSDH Acute Disease Service will work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention if a physician contacts us and has strong evidence a person has rabies.

Will I die from rabies?

Once you develop symptoms of rabies, survival is rare.  Only a few individuals have survived after developing symptoms of rabies.

Resources for the Public

Please note: Rabies submissions currently involve a specific delivery process for the OSDH Public Health Lab to test animal specimens. Learn about the submission process for animals to be tested for Rabies in case you need to provide instructions to a patient. 

All other test samples (excluding Rabies) will need to be mailed or delivered to the Public Health Lab location in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Contact Information

Mailing Address:
Oklahoma State Department of Health
Acute Disease Service
123 Robert S. Kerr Ave, Ste. 1702
Oklahoma City, OK 73102-6406

Physical Address:
Oklahoma State Department of Health
123 Robert S. Kerr Ave
Oklahoma City, OK

Phone: (405) 426-8710
Fax: (405) 900-7591