An animal that is infected with the rabies virus can transmit it to a human. The type of animal you are bitten by affects your chances of becoming infected with the rabies virus. Your local health department can help you assess the risk of rabies exposure from animals in your area.
Rodents, such as hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, squirrels, and mice, are very unlikely to have rabies.2
Animals that are never infected with the rabies virus include:
Tame (domesticated) animals
In the United States and Canada, dogs, cats, and domestic ferrets usually are vaccinated against rabies. The chance of getting rabies from any of these household pets is very low. If you are bitten by one of these animals and the animal can be confined and observed and shows no signs of rabies for 10 days, you will not need treatment.
- Plotkin SA, et al. (2009). Rhabdoviridae: Rabies virus. In RD Feigin et al., eds., Feigin and Cherry’s Textbook of Pediatrics Infectious Diseases, 6th ed., vol. 2, pp. 2494–2511. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
- American Academy of Pediatrics (2009). Rabies. In LK Pickering et al., eds., Red Book: 2009 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases, 28th ed., pp. 552–559. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.
Last Revised: August 27, 2012
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