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Animal Bites

Rabies is a viral disease found in mammals. Rabies is 100% fatal in humans that develop symptoms. Rabies can be prevented by prompt medical treatment following an exposure to a rabid animal. Exposure is considered to be a bite or scratch that breaks or punctures the skin, or when bodily fluids from an infected animal contact mucous membranes or an open wound.

Animal Bite Investigation

raccoonBites or scratches by wild or exotic carnivorous animals such as raccoon, skunk, fox, coyote, opossum, ground hog, deer, wolf, wolf hybrids, bats, lions, tigers, bears, etc., require that the animal be euthanized and the head removed at the owner’s expense. The head will be sent to the Ohio Department of Health for rabies examination, with the cost of testing paid by the owner. Other wild animals such as chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, rats, and mice have not been known to transmit the rabies virus to humans. All bites should be treated as potential exposure to rabies. The Ohio Administrative Code requires that all animal bites be reported to the health department within 24 hours of bite. The health department notifies the owner of the animal regarding the 10-day quarantine period.

Report an Animal Bite: Animal Bite Report Form

Additional Information:

How do you prevent rabies in people?

Human rabies is 100% preventable. Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself from rabies.

In general:

  • Avoid contact with wild animals and animals you do not know.
  • Vaccinate your animals against rabies; your veterinarian can vaccinate your pet to prevent them from acquiring the disease from wildlife, and thereby transmitting it to humans.
  • Maintain control of your pets to reduce their exposure to wildlife.
  • Spay or neuter to decrease the number of stray animals.
  • Eliminate food and nesting or hiding places for wild animals from residential areas.
  • Do not feed wildlife. If you must feed your pets outside, bring the food in at night or keep it covered.

If you are bitten by animal:

  • Wash any wounds immediately. One of the most effective ways to decrease the chance for infection is to wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Call your doctor and your local health department; they may recommend that you get a series of shots commonly known as "rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)."
  • If your pet fought with a wild animal, call your veterinarian and the local health department to report the incident; your animal may need to get a rabies vaccine and be isolated for a period of time.

Note: Rabies pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is available for people working with wildlife or other animals on a frequent basis. Ask your healthcare provider if you think you need rabies pre-exposure prophylaxis.