Q: I 've heard that the state of Hawaii require s a 120-day quarantine. Why is the period this long, and can it be avoided? --R.S. A: A 120-day quarantine is required of all dogs and cats imported into Hawaii. There is no way to get around these regulations, but you can visit your pet during its quarantine.
Rabies is a viral infection that can affect all warm-blooded animals and can be transmitted from one species to another, including humans. The incubation period (the time between exposure and development of clinical signs) ranges from from two weeks to six months. So rabies-free areas impose long quarantines: Hawaii, Norway, Sweden and Finland impose four-month quarantines; the United Kingdom's and Ireland's is six months. Australia, New Zealand and Fiji allow the importation of animals only from other rabies-free areas; Iceland forbids the importation of dogs and Malta the importation of any pets.
If you're a world traveler and want your pet to come along, it's a good idea to buy the ASPCA brochure "Traveling With Your Pet" for $4. Write ASPCA, Education Department, 441 E. 92nd St., N.Y. 10128.