The other day, I wrote about an effort to track down adopters of puppies from a litter in the Clay County, Texas, area after one of the puppies was confirmed to be rabid. At last report, 8 of the 9 remaining puppies have been located.
Two of these puppies were adopted by one family, with two kids and 4 children that the mother babysits (so, lots of exposed people). One of the puppies died (which would be consistent with rabies), and rabies testing is underway. The other was euthanized for testing.
The article states that all of the exposed puppies need to be euthanized. That’s not necessarily true, since the options for an apparently healthy but exposed and unvaccinated animal typically are a 6 month strict quarantine or euthanasia (although some jurisdictions may have more rigid rules). If multiple cases of rabies are ultimately identified in the litter, it would be easier to make a case for euthanasia of all the puppies based on the likelihood they all have this fatal disease. Another consideration with young puppies is lack of socialization during the quarantine period. A six month quarantine is a long time for a young puppy, and can have long-term behavioural consequences as it is practically impossible to fully socialize the dog during this critical developmental period. There’s no good solution, so euthanasia is often the choice, as was the case here.