null Information on the rabies antibody determination tests required for the transport of pets

Information on the rabies antibody determination (FAVN) tests required for the transport of pets

Information on the rabies antibody determination (FAVN) tests required for the transport of pets

The Laboratory of Virology of the National Food Chain Safety Office Veterinary Laboratory Directorate performs the rabies antibody determination tests required for the transport of dogs, cats and ferrets*. The method is accredited by the National Accreditation Authority, and our laboratory also regularly participates in the yearly proficiency tests organized by the European Reference Laboratory for Rabies.

The rabies serology tests carried out at our laboratory are approved by the European Commission as well, our results are also acknowledged for the importation of pets from Third Countries (laboratories approved by the EU: )

*Information on travelling with pets is available on the website of the National Food Chain Safety Office (in Hungarian language):

After vaccination against rabies, the immune system of the animal will produce antibodies against the disease. If the antibody level is sufficient, it will protect the animal against a possible infection with rabies virus. With the FAVN (Fluorescent Antibody Virus Neutralisation test) serological method we determine whether the antibody level („titer”) in the serum of the animal reaches the required level, which is 0,5 IU (international units) per millilitre. During the test, we mix different dilutions of the serum with a known amount of laboratory rabies virus, and we look for the dilution level at which the antibodies present in the serum can still block („neutralize”) the virus. In case antibodies are present, we will not detect the virus; in case neutralising antibodies are absent, the replication of the virus can be detected by immunfluorescent method. The observed titer level of the sample is then compared to a standard 0,5 IU reference serum. We report the result in one of the following forms: „Positive – Rabies virus antibody titer higher (or equal) than 0,5 IU” or „Negative – Rabies virus antibody titer lower than 0,5 IU”.

In case of negative titer result (under 0,5 IU) repeated vaccination of the animal against rabies is recommended, and cca. 3 weeks after the vaccination (and also taking into account the requirements of the country of destination; for example, in case of entering the EU, legislation specifies a minimal interval of 30 days between the date of vaccination and the taking of the blood sample), draw a new blood sample and order a new rabies titer test.

The test is performed from serum. For the examination we accept whole blood without anticoagulant (minimal amount required: 2 ml), or serum (min. 1,5 ml) obtained from centrifuged blood  (from outside Hungary, we can only accept sera because of the longer transportation time). The sample should be sent refrigerated (+4°C) or frozen during the whole transport, and accompanied by the test order form (and in case of samples from outside Hungary, also an importation permit/certificate) to the National Food Chain Safety Office (NÉBIH) Veterinary Diagnostic Directorate (1143 Budapest, Tábornok u. 2.). The test order form can be downloaded here:

The order form must be filled, signed and stamped by the veterinarian taking the blood sample, who with his signature acknowledges that the sample comes from the animal identified by the microchip indicated in the order form. ATTENTION! From the samples received, the Directorate performs genetic tests based on risk-based and random sampling, in order to avoid fraudulence.

With regard to the test method and the work regime of the Laboratory, we can produce the result within 10 days after the arrival of the sample (these 10 days do not include the sample transportation time to the laboratory and the postal delivery time of the result). Upon request, for an additional fee, we can also issue a test report in English language.

The laboratory report of the results can be picked up personally or we can send it via postal services. The result can be handed over only to the person (company) paying for the test! The price of the test can be paid by cash or credit card at the desk of the Laboratory, or by cash on delivery (this option is only available within Hungary). In case of tests ordered from outside Hungary, there is also a possibility of payment by bank transfer. Test report forms may be sent to outside Hungary via postal services only upon the cost and risk of the customer (lost laboratory reports cannot be replaced).

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