WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE BITTEN BY AN ANIMAL

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What To Do If You Are Bitten. 1. Immediately flush the wound with soap and water . 2. Contact your personal physician or medical professional to determine if ...

WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE BITTEN BY AN ANIMAL

Athens City-County Health Department Athens, Ohio

1.

What To Do If You Are Bitten

Immediately flush the wound with soap and water.

2. Contact your personal physician or medical professional to determine if further treatment is necessary. 3. Notify the Athens City-County Health Department of the animal bite. The health department will want to know: A.

A description and location of the animal.

B.

Circumstances of the bite.

C.

The animal’s health/behavior at the time of the bite.

D.

Complete address and phone of the animal’s owner.

E.

The animal’s vaccination history.

What About Rabies? Rabies is a VIRAL DISEASE that can affect most warm-blooded animals. Transmission of rabies occurs when the VIRUS-laden saliva of a rabid animal is introduced by a bite, or otherwise, into a fresh break in the skin. Picking up a dead animal or petting the fur is NOT considered to be sufficient to transmit the disease.

Do not think that rabid animals can be spotted easily because they drool or foam at the mouth. That happens only some of the time. Rabid animals appear to act abnormal and may stagger, appear paralyzed, act restless, change the tone of their bark, or appear to be choking. Rabid animals are not always aggressive and may act unusually docile or friendly.

Nearly 90% of Ohio Rabies cases are in Wild Animals. The worst culprits are SKUNKS, RACCOONS, BATS, FERRETS and FOXES. Other known rabies carriers include CATS, DOGS, DOMESTIC LIVESTOCK, DEER, GROUNDHOGS, MUSKRATS, OPOSSUM, WEASELS and OTHER CARNIVORES. Animals that are rarely, if ever, infected include rabbits, mice, squirrels, rats, hamsters, gerbils, moles and guinea pigs.

What About The Animal That Bit Me? It is important to confirm whether or not the animal that bit you could have been rabid at the time of the bite. Detain or hold the animal if it can be done safely. A HEALTHY DOG OR CAT that bites a person should be confined and observed for TEN (10) DAYS. Any illness during this quarantine period should be immediately evaluated by a Veterinarian and reported to the Health Department. If signs of rabies develop, the animal should be humanely killed and its head provided to the Health Department for examination by the State laboratory. (The laboratory charges for testing rodents and other animals with a highly unlikely rabies incidence.) Please place the intact head in double plastic bags and refrigerate, but do not freeze. Any STRAY OR UNWANTED DOG OR CAT that bites a person may be killed immediately. Avoid damage to the animal’s head, which is provided to the Health Department for rabies examination. A WILD OR EXOTIC ANIMAL that bites a person should be immediately killed avoiding damage to the head, which is needed for testing by the Health Department. There is no 100% safe quarantine time for wild animals.

What If I Can’t Find The Animal? Be sure to make note of the description of the animal and the location, and the circumstances of the bite. If possible, have friends or family members keep looking for the animal. The Dog Warden may be able to assist in locating and capturing a dog.

Any bite or scratch by a wild, carnivorous animal should be regarded as a possible exposure to rabies. If the biting animal was a dog or cat, and it is healthy after the TEN (10) DAYS, rabies would no longer be a concern.

While it is up to the PHYSICIAN to make the ultimate recommendation, the decision to administer treatment to prevent rabies can be delayed for several days. However, if the biting animal cannot be confirmed rabies free, the decision to administer antibody and vaccine should be based on the behavior of the animal, the presence of rabies in the area, and the circumstances of the bite.

Some Do’s and Don’ts

Do have pets vaccinated against rabies. Do keep your pet on a leash when outside. Do obtain a dog license for your dog. Do support animal population control. Don’t touch strange live or sick animals. Don’t make pets of wild animals. Don’t allow your cat/dog to roam free. Don’t touch any injured animals including your own injured pets.

The following agencies offer assistance: Athens County Dog Warden 13333 State Route 13 Millfield, Ohio 45761 (740) 593-5415 Office Hours Mon. & Tues. 1:00-5:00 p.m. Wed., Thurs. & Fri. 1:00-5:45 p.m.

Ohio Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Officer George Foreman (740) 594-2211, extension 9980 Emergency extension 9930

Athens City-County Health Department Environmental Health Division 278 West Union Street Athens, Ohio 45701 (740) 592-4431 www.health.athens.oh.us Office Hours Mon.—Fri. 7:30 a.m.—4:00 p.m.