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Rabies titer test for traveling with cats and dogs

Rabies titer test for traveling with cats and dogs

What is the rabies titer Test?

In your research in finding out how to move your pet to another country, you may have come across this particular requirement to get a valid titer test result. This particular test has many names, including: Rabies serology blood test, Rabies Neutralizing Antibody Titer test (RNATT), Rabies antibody test, Rabies titer test. First of all, this is not the 1 year or 3 year vaccination that is generally called the Rabies Vaccination. Instead, in relation to that, it is a test to see if the vaccination is still effective in protecting your pet from rabies. Do note that even if this test results yields a high titer (that’s good) and your pet is up to date on rabies vaccinations, if you suspect your pet to have been exposed to rabies (from a rat or another dog wound), you should still consult with your veterinarian. Protocol suggests revaccinating immediately and quarantining your pet for up to 30 days.

For many countries, the titer test is an import requirement. This means your pet must do this test in the exporting country and travel with a valid result. It’s also crucial to note the various timings surrounding this test result such as “How long is the result valid for?” and “How long after the test is done can my pet travel?” For Australia and Japan, your pet needs to wait as long as 6 months after doing the test!

Understanding the results of the titer test

The result is measured as IU/ml. Per OIE and WHO’s standards, the minimum acceptable result to be considered passing is >0.5 iu/ml. Do note that it’s possible to obtain just a 0.5 iu/ml result in which case you should check with the importing country or your pet transport agent if it is still acceptable.

Rabies titer test for traveling with cats and dogs

When best to do the titer test?

While each country has specifics as to how long a test result is valid for. For example, Australia considers it valid for 1 year from the date of blood sampling, while Singapore only considers it valid for 6 months. Some countries consider it valid indefinitely as long as it can be shown that since the test your pet has been up to date with rabies vaccinations. When you are within the time frame to do the test, you should also consider when the last rabies vaccination was done. 

The recommended time frame to obtain the “highest” titer result is approximately one month after a rabies vaccination. If your last rabies vaccination is more than 2 years ago (assuming 3 year vaccinations are accepted by the importing country), we would strongly recommend revaccinating and waiting 30 days before testing. 

How much does the rabies titer test cost and where can I get it?

For pet transport from the USA, do note that most countries will require that a USDA accredited veterinarian conduct this test. Since only USDA accredited doctors can perform the final health examination for travel, it’s best to find one now for the rabies titer test. 

Depending on which state you are in, the combined costs of the hospital, couriering to the lab and testing fees are around $250 to $550. 

You can shop for the best price but do take the following chapter “How long does it take?” into consideration. Cheapest is not always best. 

Do also note these warnings:

  • You cannot take your pet to another country to do the test without due consideration. 

  • After doing the test, you cannot bring out pet to another country (for a holiday for example) without due consideration.

  • You cannot draw the blood in the US and send it to another country for testing without due consideration.

The due consideration here is that the exporting and importing country may not accept the test results and your pet entering another country in the meantime may result in additional veterinary conditions throwing your initial plan in disarray. 

How long does the test take? 

This is often misunderstood since other blood tests usually take about a week for results. 

The titer test takes approximately 4 weeks or more. A simple reason for this is that there is a lack of manpower at the labs. That’s not something you can fix, however:

Agent insight: If you are hoping for the fastest turnaround on the test result, you should find a hospital which sends your pet’s blood directly to the testing lab. In the US, the lab is likely either Kansas State University, Auburn University or the Department of Defence Lab (do note that some countries specify which lab is or is not recognized). Verifying this is difficult as most hospital front desks staff might not even know there’s a difference. But now you know!: Most hospitals engage a middle-man lab like Idexx that provides the additional service of picking up blood samples from the hospital. This saves the hospital time not having to courier the blood themselves and provides a centralized payment system. However, this potentially adds 1-2 weeks to the processing time before you can get your lab result. If this is an important consideration, you should try to find a hospital who sends the blood directly to the testing lab. Important!: The test results are usually emailed to the hospital and the original hardcopy mailed out and received by the hospital a couple of days later. There is no instance where the original hardcopy doesn’t need to travel with the pet (or get sent directly to the importing country like Hawaii). Therefore, even if your hospital forgets to prompt you, please ensure you pick up the hardcopy from them. 

Gradually, some labs are moving onto an electronic report bearing a QR code. This time of test reports can be considered original but do still confirm that with your pet agent or the importing country. 

Rabies titer test for traveling with cats and dogs


When required, the rabies titer test is one of the more prominent procedures needed for your pet. You should always consult with various official sources in figuring out when the test should be done and then further research on where it can be done to suit your timing best. 

An agent like 0x Cargo will take all of these into consideration, including all the other procedures your pet needs. We do a lot more than just being a travel agent booking your pet’s flight. With the time factor consideration, unless you are absolutely certain of what you need to do, we recommend you rely on a pet agent to assist you with your pet’s move. 

0x Cargo will help you determine if your pet needs a titer test to travel, when it should be done, where to do it and the time frame where your pet will be able to travel after doing the test. 


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