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Rabies

As a result of the re-emergence of raccoon rabies in southwestern Ontario in December 2015, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry will be enhancing their program of dropping rabies vaccine-containing “bait” to include Haldimand County.

Bait packets are safe to touch, but it is best to leave them alone to allow wild animals the chance to eat them and become vaccinated against rabies. This will help slow the spread of the disease in our area. If a child or a pet were to eat a bait packet, we suggest you seek medical advice as a precaution. It does contain a vaccine, so your physician (or veterinarian in the case of a pet) is the best person to monitor if there are any adverse effects.

  • If a person is bitten or scratched by ANY animal (wild, stray, or a domestic pet) please contact the Health Unit at 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623.
  • If a pet or livestock is bitten by a wild or stray animal (with no human injuries) please contact your veterinarian for advice.
  • If you notice a wild or stray animal behaving oddly or aggressively, contact Animal Control. In Norfolk County contact Hillside Kennels at 519-469-3247; in Haldimand County contact the Welland OSPCA at 905-735-1552. Or you can contact the Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry Rabies Hotline at 1-888-574-6656.

What is rabies?

Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the nervous system of all warm-blooded animals, including humans. Rabies commonly affects raccoons, foxes, skunks, bats, cats, dogs and cattle. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, it is important to seek medical treatment right away. Once rabies’ symptoms appear, the virus is always fatal in animals and humans.

Rabies is spread through the saliva of an infected animal. The virus can be passed if the animal bites or scratches you or if the animal’s saliva comes into contact with your mouth or eyes.

What should I do if I am bitten or scratched?

  • Immediately wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water.
  • See a doctor as soon as possible.
  • Provide the following information to the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit:
    • contact information for the animal owner
    • date of incident
    • type of exposure (bite/scratch)
    • type of animal

What can I do to prevent rabies?

  • Vaccinate your pet! IT’S THE LAW!
  • Do not let your pet roam free.
  • Feed your pet indoors. Feeding your pet outdoors can attract other unwanted animals.
  • Stay away from dogs and cats that are acting strangely. Report the animal and its location to your local Humane Society right away.
    Norfolk – Simcoe and District Humane Society (519-428-9161)
    Haldimand – Welland and District Humane Society (1-888-222-0568)
  • Do not touch animals that are stray and unfamiliar to you.
  • Stay away from wild animals including raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats.
  • Store all garbage in containers with secure lids.

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