Animal Bites & Rabies

Have you been bitten or scratched by an animal? Here at Public Health, we work to help prevent rabies within the community. Additionally, our public health inspectors are responsible for following up on all animal incidents like bites and scratches where the skin has been broken. This step is crucial as it allows inspectors to determine if there is any risk of rabies.

Rabies is a caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system (brain and spinal cord) of warm-blooded animals. The rabies virus can affect any mammal including humans, pets, farm animals and wild animals like foxes, raccoons, skunks and bats.

Rabies is spread by the saliva of infected animals, most commonly through a bite or scratch. It can also be spread when saliva touches an open wound or the moist tissues of the mouth, nose or eyes.

Animals can spread rabies even before they show symptoms. There is no cure for rabies once symptoms start. Rabies vaccine must be given as soon as possible, before symptoms appear. Once the symptoms of rabies start, it is nearly always fatal.

To prevent rabies, it is important to avoid all contact with wild animals, including between pets and wildlife. Also, ensure your dogs and cats have up-to-date rabies vaccinations.

If you get bitten or scratched by an animal

  1. Wash the wound with soap and water.
  2. Contact your family doctor immediately. We can provide rabies vaccine to your doctor, if needed.
  3. As soon as possible, call our Public Health Inspection Line at 1-800-265-7293 ext. 4753. After-hours, on weekends and on holidays, please call 1-877-884-8653.

If your pet or livestock is bitten by a wild or stray animal

If there is no human exposure, contact your veterinarian for advice.

If you notice a wild or stray animal behaving oddly or aggressively

Call the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNRF) Rabies Hotline at 1-888-574-6656.