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For Immediate Release: October 31, 2005


Eliminates 30-day program in favor of variation of Five-Day-or-Less Program

HONOLULU – In a continuing effort to improve HawaiiÂ’s rabies quarantine program, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture will implement new modifications that will officially eliminate the 30-day quarantine program in favor of a variation of the Five-Day-or-Less program.  The new rules were signed by Governor Linda Lingle on October 20 and take effect today.

The amended rules affect dogs and cats that meet all of the requirements for the Five-Day-Or-Less program (including electronic microchip, two rabies vaccinations in the prescribed timeframe, passing OIE-FAVN rabies blood test titer, etc.) except that they are deficient in completing either:

·         The 120-day waiting period after passing the OIE-FAVN rabies blood test before arriving in Hawaii or are;

·         Deficient in the 90-day waiting period after the most recent rabies vaccine before arriving in Hawaii.

Such pets will be characterized as “early arrivals” and will be required to remain in quarantine until the required waiting periods are completed. Once the waiting periods are completed, they will then qualify for release under the Five-Day-Or-Less program.  Pets arriving as early arrivals will be charged $14.30 per day until the date of qualification, plus the $224 Five-Day-Or-Less program fee. The 120-day quarantine will remain in effect for those pets that do not qualify for early release.

For example, an animal arriving after completing 90 days of the 120-day waiting period after passing the OIE-FAVN rabies blood test used to be placed in the 30-day program. That animal will now be categorized as an early arrival, having arrived 30 days early for the Five-Day-Or-Less Program. The pet will be held in quarantine for 30 days and the fee would be 30 days multiplied by a daily rate of $14.30, plus $224, which would equal $653 in this example.

A pet arriving 10 days short of the 120-day waiting period will be held only for 10 days at the same rate.

“The Five-Day-or-Less program continues to be tremendously successful with more than 86 percent of arriving pets being released at the airport,” said Sandra Lee Kunimoto, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture.  “This modification in the rules will help pet owners who have difficulty completing the required waiting periods prior to arriving in Hawaii by holding pets in quarantine only for the period they need to qualify for release.”

The new rules also extend the acceptable interval for three-year licensed vaccines from 18 months to three years and extend the validity of a passing OIE-FAVN rabies blood titer test from 18 months to three years. One-year rabies vaccines are still only valid for one year.  Pet owners planning to travel out of Hawaii with their pets need to re-vaccinate and re-test their pets before a respective test or vaccine expires.  The new rules also allow greater flexibility for law enforcement agencies to utilize working dogs in quarantine.

The Five-Day-or-Less rabies quarantine program was implemented by the Lingle-Aiona Administration in June 2003, with modifications in February 2004.  Since its implementation, the number of dogs and cats imported into the state has risen more than 62 percent.  Statistics previously released by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) show that during Fiscal Year 2005, a total of 7,653 dogs and cats entered the state, compared to Fiscal Year 2003 when a total of 4,771 dogs and cats were imported to Hawaii.   

Under the Five-Day-or-Less program, pets may be released at Honolulu International Airport if they complete all the pre-arrival requirements, which include:

·     Two rabies vaccinations, with the last vaccination administered no more than one year prior to arrival if it was a one-year licensed vaccine, or no more than three years prior to arrival if it was a three-year vaccine.  (The two vaccinations may not be administered less than 90 days of each other; and the most recent vaccine must be administered no less than 90 days prior to the pet's entry into the state);

·     Microchip implantation for identification purposes;

·     Blood serum (OIE-FAVN) rabies test results with > 0.5 U/mil level of rabies antibodies;

·     120-day pre-arrival waiting period between the time the lab receives the blood sample and the earliest date the pet may enter the state under the program.  (The pre-arrival waiting period is necessary due to the long and variable length of rabies incubation, where the virus may hide in an animal before clinical signs of the disease become apparent.)

·     Health certificate issued by an accredited veterinarian no more than 14 days before arriving in Hawaii indicating the pet is not showing signs of infectious or contagious disease and was treated for external parasites with fipronil or product with similar residual activity; and,

·     Required paperwork must be received more than 10 days prior to the pet's arrival.  

For more information on Hawaii's rabies quarantine programs, please go to the HDOA website at:  An informational brochure, checklists, forms and "Frequently Asked Questions" are available on that webpage.


For more information, contact:

Janelle Saneishi
Public Information Officer
Hawaii Department of Agriculture
Phone: (808) 973-9560
[email protected]