Rabies antibody determination for pets
Taking pets on a trip takes a lot of time and administration. Timely information prevents many a hassle. Take time to make travel arrangements.
To prove the effectiveness of the rabies vaccination, a blood test with determination of the rabies titer is required. This must be at least 0.5 IU/ml. For travel to a non-listed third country, the following applies: there must be at least 30 days between the vaccination date and the blood collection date!
Please note that we perform the rabies titer tests but are not responsible for the required travel documents: for re-entry into the EU with a pet resident in the EU you need a positive rabies serological test (rabies titer ≥ 0.5 IU/ml). Apart from the journey home, a journey through a third country - e. g. e.g. through Serbia when driving from Austria to Greece - is considered as re-entry into the EU. When re-entering the EU, a valid pet passport must be carried, in which the valid rabies vaccination and also the serological rabies test are entered. Within Europe, the rabies titer determination is valid for the life of the animal, provided you comply with the vaccination schedule. Therefore, have the rabies titre determination carried out in good time - this will save you, your veterinarian and us the stress before the journey.
Information on traveling with pets can be found at the following links:
Those who travel without complying with the legal requirements must expect problems at the border, in the destination country or upon re-entry into Austria.
The rabies titer determination for entry into the EU may only be performed in an EU-approved laboratory. Our laboratory is approved by the EU (2004/233/EC) and all countries for testing the effectiveness of rabies vaccination in domestic animals (dogs, cats, ferrets). It is not possible to rewrite a certificate issued by another laboratory.
- We are an accredited laboratory recognized by the EU(annual review by the EU).
- We are the National Reference Laboratory for rabies and for monitoring the effectiveness of rabies vaccination (sound information based on knowledge of EU legislation).
- We are a listed approved laboratory for entry into USA, Japan, China and Taiwan.
- With this regulation, each sample can be examined within 1.5 weeks after receipt in the laboratory (except for holidays, such as Christmas). Therefore, please bring the samples to the laboratory in time (3-4 weeks before travel). We also perform express examinations in exceptional cases.
Sample Quality & Form
Do not bring your pet to us - we are a diagnostic institute and are not responsible for blood draws or travel information. Your veterinarian is responsible for taking the blood. He/she must also sign the completed rabies titer form and confirms the accuracy of the information with his/her signature.
For travel to a non-listed third country, the following applies: there must be at least 30 days between the vaccination date and the blood collection date! We would like to point out that serum without added anticoagulants is required for testing for rabies antibodies (FAVNT) - quantity: at least 500µl "pure" serum or approx. 5ml whole blood. Please fill the correct blood tube from the beginning. Do not use LI-Heparin or EDTA tubes!
The serum can be stored in the refrigerator (4°C) for a short time or in the freezer (-20°C) for 1 week until transport. The quality of the sample may decrease slightly during this period. Transport should always take place in a refrigerated state (4°C or lower) (see also sample packaging and transport).
Please fill out the sample request form completely and send it to the Institut für veterinärmedizinische Untersuchungen Mödling. In case of samples from several pets, please fill out a separate form for each animal and label the samples in such a way that we can assign the correct sample to each form. The veterinarian is responsible for the correctness of the data on the form. The veterinarian who drew blood from the animal must sign the form (a signature from the pet owner is invalid!). The veterinarian will determine who will pay the bill and whether the test report may be sent to the pet owner.
The rabies antibody titer testing application and other forms and information can be found here.
Correct Data: The data you provide will be transferred to the test report after testing is complete. Since the test report is a document (please keep it carefully!) and your pet is identified by this data, it is important that you enter the data correctly and, above all, legibly. A subsequent correction is only possible to a limited extent.
If possible, please include your telephone number and e-mail address for any queries. On the form you can also add notes such as "self-collector" or "urgent" (only in really urgent cases!).
Samples from third countries are animal blood subject to transport regulations - the packaging of the sample must be labeled "Exempt Animal Specimen - Serum from a dog/cat". The specimen containers must be labeled "For laboratory use only". The packaging must be three-layered.
Information on correct sample shipping can be found here - your transporter will also provide you with information!
Attention: The sender is liable for improper packaging during transport! The blood must/should be transported refrigerated (4°C and cooler).
Sample transport to the examination laboratory
The transport of the blood (serum) sample to the institute is the responsibility of the pet owner - all costs incurred due to the transport, including the costs of border control (customs) or other taxes are to be paid by the owner. As the sender of the sample, please make sure that "Sender" is marked in the transport documents under "Transport costs" as well as under "Duties and Taxes" and not "Recipient". If the designation is not correct, the sample will be returned to the sender and will not be examined!
Make sure that the transport company is allowed to transport the sample - some transport companies accept samples even though they are not authorized to transport them. The samples are then returned by post at the EU border.
In case of samples from third countries, please ask us for the current notification for the transport of the serological blood samples(email@example.com). You then enclose this (together with the completed and signed form) in the packaging with the samples.
You can also bring the sample to us yourself at any time and collect the test report from us in urgent cases (please note "self-collector" on the form!). We accept samples for rabies antibody determination not only on weekdays but also on weekends and holidays outside office hours - trained staff will take care of the samples properly until they are processed. You can find the opening hours of the Institut für veterinärmedizinische Untersuchungen Mödling here.
Transport of the samples by airplane
Should you take the serum sample from a third country by airplane during a pre-trip conditional stay in Austria, please consider the following:
In case of samples from third countries, please ask us for the current notice for the transport of serological blood samples(firstname.lastname@example.org). Please enclose this (together with the completed and signed form) in the packaging of the samples and show it to the inspecting customs officers.
Please choose the red exit at the airport to have a customs control - otherwise you commit a customs offense! Blood (serum) samples from third countries, which are intended for rabies antibody determination at IVET Mödling, do not have to be declared to our Biorisk officer (BRO)! (Please also observe the packaging instructions for correct sample shipment!)
Please note that samples received by Sunday evening will be scheduled for Monday. Samples received later will be processed on the following Monday. On the following Friday the results will be sent to the sender by mail (subject to change e.g. at Christmas!).
With this arrangement, each sample can be examined within 1.5 weeks after receipt in the laboratory (except for holidays, e.g. Christmas). Therefore, please bring the samples to the laboratory in time (3-4 weeks before the start of the journey). ATTENTION: the postal transport of the sample to the laboratory can take one week in Austria!
We also offer express examinations. Express tests are scheduled in addition to the routine samples, which are scheduled every Monday morning, as individual samples after agreement with the laboratory at another time - the result can be sent/emailed 3 days after the day of the preparation. The express surcharge is 100% surcharge to the currently valid price.
The test report will be sent to the customer (the veterinarian or if the owner of the animal agrees) by mail and if an e-mail address is given, also by e-mail. Please note, however, that a mailed test report is not legally valid; you need the test report sent by us by mail. This is the original document.
Does it have to be fast? - You can also bring the sample to us yourself at any time (for opening hours, see Institut für veterinärmedizinische Untersuchungen Mödling) as well as pick up the test report from us in urgent cases (please note "self-collector" on the form!). We accept samples for rabies antibody determination not only on weekdays, but also on weekends and holidays outside office hours - trained staff will store the samples properly until processing. You can also pick up the test report on holidays and after hours.
For citizens with EU address:
Each sample costs € 84.72. You will receive an invoice with the findings.
For citizens with address outside the EU - the test report will then also be sent to an address in a third country:
Each sample costs € 70.60. The costs must be deposited for citizens with address outside the EU before testing. Only when we receive a scan of the deposit slip, we will test.
AGES GmbH Vet Med Moedling Bank: BAWAG Bankcodenumber: 60 000 Accountnumber: 000 9605 1513 IBAN: AT 85 6000 0000 9605 1513 BIC: BAWAATWW
Please keep the test report carefully. We charge a special rate for reissuing!
Examination Laboratory & Contact
Address of the testing laboratory:
Please send the sample exclusively with the completed form to the following address:
AGES Institute for Veterinary Investigations Mödling Robert Kochgasse 17 A-2340-Mödling
Please do not use other e-mail addresses or phone numbers. You can also bring the sample to us yourself at any time as well as pick up the test report from us in urgent cases (please note "self-pick-up" on the form!). We accept samples for rabies antibody determination not only on weekdays but also on weekends and holidays outside office hours - trained staff will take care of the samples properly until they are processed. You can find the opening hours of the Institut für veterinärmedizinische Untersuchungen Mödling here.
Important information for travel planning
We cannot give you any advice for traveling to your vacation country. Please inform yourself about the vaccination regulations of non-European countries at the embassy of the respective destination country. Motorist clubs also have useful information on their homepage. General information for re-entry into the EU (you also have to consider this!) can be found on the homepage of the Federal Office for Consumer Protection. We will help you with information, but you are responsible for the transport of your dog and for the correct compliance with the regulations.
Important information for entry, travel, re-entry and import:
A) Pet entry - no trade:
A maximum of 5 pets per person may be taken on trips.
Identification of the pet (dog, cat, ferret):
A prerequisite for the import or entry of your pet is a correct identification of the animal by means of a microchip. The microchip identifies your pet (not the name or other data): Please indicate the number correctly - if incorrect, the test must be repeated.
A valid vaccination with an inactivated rabies vaccine or vector vaccine approved in the country of origin and conforming to the WHO/OIE standard is required for entry in all cases. The animal must be clearly identified by microchip prior to vaccination, and repeat vaccinations must be given within the intervals prescribed by the manufacturer of the particular vaccine. The rabies certificate loses its validity if the time intervals are not observed (and if it is only one day) and the test must be repeated.
Further important information from the BMSGPK:
Information on the illegal puppy trade can be found on the homepage of the Austrian Veterinary Chamber.
I am going on vacation - where can I find information about the (entry) regulations to my vacation country?
Please inquire at the embassy of your vacation country about the entry requirements. This concerns, among other things, certificates, examinations, deadlines for examinations, etc. When traveling by car, you must also observe the entry requirements of the transit countries (e.g. vacation in Greece - transit through Serbia, Albania, North Macedonia...). A good information portal is also the portal of the motorist clubs (e.g. ÖAMTC Länderinfo). Please note, however, that the relevant information on non-official websites is only non-binding information and that laws can change at short notice - therefore, you should also inform yourself at the official responsible offices of your vacation country (e.g. at the embassy).
For most third countries and for re-entry into the EU, the rabies test is valid for the life of the animal. Therefore, have the rabies titer test done in time - this saves you, your veterinarian and us the stress before the trip.
My dog, my cat was with me on vacation in a non-EU country - can I return to Austria with the animal without further ado?
From all third countries the re-entry of dogs, cats and ferrets originating from Austria or from other EU Member States is possible if for each animal:
- a pet passport is carried, in which
- the valid rabies vaccination and additionally also
- the serological rabies test is entered. If a serological rabies test is not registered in the pet passport, a confirmation of the serological rabies test must be presented in addition to the pet passport.
In the case of re-entry of an animal whose pet passport shows that the rabies serological test was carried out with a positive result (Rabies titre≥ 0.5 IU/ml) before this animal left the territory of the European Union, the waiting period of three months between blood collection and movement is not necessary.
When does the 3-month period exist?
- when importing an animal from a third country: the blood sample (cut-off date: blood collection day) for rabies antibody determination must be taken at least thirty days after vaccination and at least three months before the animal is moved from the third country. The titre determination must be carried out in a laboratory approved by the EU.
- In the case of re-entry of an animal whose pet passport shows that the serological rabies test - before this animal left the territory of the European Union - has not been carried out, the waiting period of three months between blood collection and movement is necessary. Exception: a declaration according to Article 12(1)(c) of Regulation (EU) No 576/2013 is submitted that only one transit has taken place through the states or territories not listed above, and during this transit the animal has had no contact with animals of species susceptible to rabies and has not left a secured means of transport or the premises of an international airport (practically, this is the only reason if the animal in the transfer room has spent the time in the third country - everything else is difficult to verify by the authority). This declaration must be issued in English and German and filled in block letters
How long is the certificate of rabies antibody determination (= serological rabies test, rabies titer determination) valid?
Valid for the EU (not valid for non-EU countries): The rabies serological test does not need to be repeated in an animal in which the vaccination is revaccinated at the scheduled intervals; i.e., the animal must be subjected to regular revaccination at the scheduled intervals (intervals depending on the manufacturer's instructions) (no day without a valid vaccination). The vaccination or rabies serological test remains valid under these circumstances.
If the booster vaccination takes place after the expiry of the period specified by the approval of the vaccine, this vaccination is considered as a new basic immunization and the rabies titer determination must be repeated, if one needs this examination for a vacation destination or re-entry into the EU.
I want to import a dog/cat from a third country into the EU. What do I need? Where can I get information?
Importing a dog is complex - simply taking it in the car is prohibited. Please inquire carefully and adhere to the regulations. This saves trouble, costs and also suffering, because often the dog has to be quarantined for a longer time after acceptance by the border authorities, which you have to pay. Please inform yourself at the authorities of the respective country of entry. For the EU, the EU country they enter first also applies. Countries within the EU incl. Switzerland and Norway have the same entry regulations. For Austria the authority is the Federal Office of Consumer Health (BAVG), here you can find the necessary information.
Why do I need all the exams, I go to the vet at home anyway?
- It is not possible to assume that the animal that has been strayed to is completely healthy. There are some diseases that are transmissible to humans - besides parasitic diseases this is also rabies. Therefore there are regulations like the rabies titer examination, the 3 months stay in the third country, various vaccinations etc.. These regulations are regularly revised by experts.
- Always buy puppies abroad from reputable breeders (the breed association can help you and will be happy to provide information). Keep in mind when buying from dubious dealers: Behind every "poor" puppy is an even poorer mother animal, which is kept only for the production of puppies. The purchase of this puppy means for the dubious seller that his trade is profitable
- Do not promote the illegal puppy trade - you can make yourself liable to prosecution, apart from the suffering caused by buying mostly badly kept, sick animals. If you want to do something for street dogs, contact the reputable animal welfare organizations there and contribute by financial support e.g. for food. e.g. for food, for a veterinary sterilization etc. to the animal well-being.
- Information about the illegal puppy trade can be found on the homepage of the Austrian Veterinary Chamber.
- Attention: I am only allowed to bring a puppy into the EU after a valid rabies vaccination with a valid rabies titer test, i.e. at the age of 7 months at the earliest!
Can I bring my pets in for a blood draw?
Only the test is performed in our institute. The blood sample will be taken by your veterinarian. Please make an appointment with them and your veterinarian will send us the blood/serum for testing by mail or express service, together with the form signed by him/her. We cannot accept a form signed by the owner.
Is the certificate from you valid in other countries?
Our institute in Mödling is the only Austrian National Reference Laboratory for rabies and for testing the effectiveness of rabies vaccination. The appointment was made by the authority, the responsible ministry; it is an EU-recognized laboratory for rabies serology and as such is audited annually in the form of ring tests. As an EU recognized laboratory, the procedure must also comply with international standards and the procedure must also be accredited according to EN ISO 17025. An audit to verify this accreditation takes place annually in our laboratory. The certificate from an EU recognized laboratory is valid worldwide. We are also a recognized laboratory for Japan and China.
We only issue certificates for tests performed by us. We do not confirm or transcribe certificates of other institutes!
How can I bring the sample to Austria?
If carried on an airplane: check with the Federal Office of Consumer Health.
About transport companies: Also make sure with the transport company whether the transport company is allowed to transport the sample - some transport companies accept the samples even though they are not authorized to transport them. The samples are then returned by mail at the EU border. The transport of the blood (serum) sample to us is the responsibility of the pet owner:in - all costs incurred due to the transport, including the cost of border control (customs) or other cabs are to be paid by the owner:in. As the sender of the sample, please make sure that in the transport documents "Transport costs" and "Duties and Taxes" are marked "Sender" and not "Recipient". If the designation is not correct, the sample will be returned to the sender and will not be examined!
In case of samples from third countries, please ask us for the current notification for the transport of the serological blood samples(email@example.com) to our Institute for Veterinary Medicine Mödling. You then enclose this (together with the completed and signed form) in the packaging of the samples and show it to the transport company/the inspecting customs officials.
How do I send samples from a third country so that they arrive at our laboratory in a usable condition?
Your veterinarian in your home country will draw blood from your dog/cat, obtain serum from it, fill out our sample form (found on our homepage) and sign it. You then have to pack the sample according to the instructions and send it to us by courier. The serum sample (keeps longer than a blood sample) must be sent to us refrigerated (4 °C, with cold packs) by courier service. In case of samples from third countries, please ask us for the current notice for the transport of serological blood samples(firstname.lastname@example.org). You then enclose this (together with the completed and signed form) in the packaging with the samples and show it to the transport company/inspecting customs officials.
Samples from third countries are animal blood subject to transport regulations - the packaging of the sample must be marked "Exempt Animal Specimen - Serum from a dog/cat". The specimen containers must be labeled "For laboratory use only". The packaging must be three-layered.
Sample transport: Also make sure with the transport company whether the transport company is allowed to transport the sample - some transport companies accept the samples although they are not authorized for transport. The transport of the blood (serum) sample to the institute is the responsibility of the pet owner(s) - all costs incurred due to the transport, including the costs of border control (customs) or other taxes are to be paid by the owner(s). As the sender of the sample, please make sure that in the transport documents "Transport costs" and "Duties and Taxes" are marked "Sender" and not "Recipient". If the designation is not correct, the sample will be returned to the sender and will not be examined!
How long can I store a sample? Can I freeze the sample?
The sample can be stored in a refrigerated state at 4 °C for one week. Any transport should be done at 4 °C (cold packs, thermos flask, etc.). The sample can also be frozen at -20 °C in the freezer quickly after blood collection and serum collection. Please store in the freezer for a maximum of 1 month. The sample can then be shipped in the frozen state with cold packs. Especially in countries with warm climate, freezing of the sample (-20 °C) before shipment is recommended.
How much blood/serum does the lab need for the test? Which tube do I take?
At least 5 ml of blood or 1 ml of serum in a blood tube (usually a red blood tube) without anticoagulants. In principle, any blood tube that is sterile, non-fragile and does not have an anticoagulant coating is acceptable. Please label the blood tube clearly and legibly with a waterproof pen. The labeling of the tube must be clearly associated with the sample form of your animal - e.g. labeling with microchip number of the animal or animal name. This is especially important for more than one sample.
What influence does the sample quality have on the examination procedure?
When transporting the specimen, ensure that it is properly packaged and cooled. Failure to do so may result in the reduction of antibodies in the specimen. Do not leave the sample lying around freely, store it in the refrigerator at 4 °C or freeze it immediately (-20 °C) until shipment. We have no influence on sampling, storage and transport of test items that are handed in or sent in by the client. The examination result refers exclusively to the handed over examination object and the extent of the performed examinations. Please send us only blood/serum of good quality.
When can I have blood drawn after my last rabies vaccination?
For verification of valid rabies vaccination: blood sample can be taken after 21 days after valid rabies vaccination, e.g. for biting animals, or for information about the effectiveness of rabies vaccination. With this certificate is not possible to travel
For travel - import or re-entry into the EU: blood sampling only 30 days after the valid rabies vaccination.
How long does the rabies titer determination take?
Rabies antibody titration (= tolwut titration, rabies antibody determination) takes three days: from Monday morning to Thursday morning. The sample must be received at the institute by Sunday evening in order to be tested on Monday. Express tests, in addition to the routine samples scheduled every Monday morning, are scheduled as individual samples at a different time by agreement with the laboratory - the result can be sent/emailed 3 days after the day of the preparation. The express surcharge is 100% surcharge to the currently valid price.
What does the examination cost? Can I pay directly at the institute when I pick up my test report?
It is not possible to pay for the test directly at the institute. Pet owners/veterinarians with an EU address will receive a payment slip with the test report (the invoice data can be found on the invoice). Pet owners/veterinarians from non-EU countries have to pay in advance and at best scan the payment slip. The current costs and the bank details can be found here.
Can I have the data on the form changed?
The microchip is the actual proof of identity of a pet - not the name, not the breed. So we can correct data e.g. in case of spelling mistakes (dog name, owner data).
The given microchip number and the date of blood collection cannot be changed.
The vaccination date can only be corrected after presentation/scanning of the pet passport.
Veterinarians who sign our completed rabies titer form are responsible for the accuracy of the data. Please fill out the form legibly and check the accuracy of the data. The test report is a document - it can happen that it is not recognized at the border in case of discrepancies. Therefore, check the data immediately after receipt of the test report and report any discrepancies to us.
Can I bring the sample over?
Pet owners can bring the sample with the form signed by the veterinarian to us at any time (weekdays, Sundays and holidays; during opening hours, outside opening hours). Our staff (sample reception & porters) is trained in handling the samples and will take care of them professionally.
How do I get the test report?
The test report is sent by mail and by post to the veterinarian or, with their consent, also to the pet owner. For this purpose, the necessary fields must be checked or filled in on the order form. The original document is the test report sent by mail; the mailed test report is only preliminary information - it is not accepted by many authorities (e.g. official veterinarian).
Can I pick up the test report myself?
Pet owners can pick up the original document, the signed test report, from Thursday morning at our office, if the note "self-collection" is indicated on the form handed in with the sample. The collection can be made at any time - on weekdays, Sundays and holidays; during the opening hours, outside the opening hours. If the test report is not collected after one week, we will automatically send it by mail.
I live in a third country where the Post Office cannot deliver the test report - What do I do?
We can also send the test report with the address of the third country by mail to an address in the EU, where you can pick it up. You only need to write the address on the rabies titer form and please also the address of the third country (this is then on the letterhead of the test report or this is also the billing address). Since it is a third country address, the examination must also be paid in advance in this case.
If desired, we can also send the test report by TNT, the costs will be charged to you.
What do I need to consider when vaccinating so that I can take a valid rabies test?
The vaccination valid for the rabies titer test (= rabies antibody determination) must take place after the microchip has been implanted. Data regarding microchip implantation and vaccination can be found in the pet passport or must be entered there. The vaccine must be a vaccine recognized in the EU, the vaccination intervals prescribed by the manufacturer apply. According to the manufacturer's data, puppies can usually be vaccinated only at the age of 4 months. If the dam is vaccinated against rabies, the puppy (dog) will have maternal rabies antibodies after birth. These are broken down after birth. Depending on the animal, it may happen that the vaccine antibodies are also broken down - this then leads to a titer below 0.5 IU/ml. Therefore, most veterinarians administer another vaccination (= booster) after a waiting period after the first vaccination. Cats react differently to rabies vaccines and usually have a high titer after the first rabies vaccination.
Last updated: 11.09.2023