Information about Animal Bites
How pet owners can help protect their pet against rabies
Vaccinate your pet: click here for a list of Veterinarians in Sunrise Health Region
Yorkton Animal Health Centre Clinics dates click here
Confirmed cases of rabies have occured throughout Sunrise Health Region.
If you suspect an animal of having rabies, keep your distance and immediately contact Sunrise Public Health Inspection at 786-0600.
The information below is taken from the Canadian Food Inspection website which can be visited for more information.
What is rabies?
Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system of warm-blooded animals, including humans.
Once symptoms appear, rabies is almost always fatal.
In Canada, bats, foxes, skunks and raccoons are the most common transmitters of the disease.
Is rabies a risk to human health?
Yes. Worldwide, over 50,000 people die annually from rabies. However, human rabies deaths are rare in North America. Prompt treatment following exposure to or a bite from an animal suspected of having rabies can prevent human illness. The following actions are recommended:
- immediately wash the wound or exposed surface with soap and water;
- remove any clothing that may have been contaminated; and
- seek medical advice as soon as possible.
What are the clinical signs of rabies?
Animals with rabies may show a variety of signs. The disease can appear in two forms:
- Domestic animals may become depressed and try to hide in isolated places.
- Wild animals may lose their fear of humans and appear unusually friendly.
- Wild animals that usually only come out at night may be out during the day.
- Animals may have paralysis. Areas most commonly affected are the face or neck (which causes abnormal facial expressions or drooling) or the hind legs.
- Animals may become very excited and aggressive.
- Periods of excitement usually alternate with periods of depression.
- Animals may attack objects or other animals. They may even bite or chew their own limbs.
Where is rabies found?
Rabies is found worldwide. It is common to both Canada and the U.S.
How is rabies transmitted and spread?
Rabies is transmitted through saliva, primarily via bite wounds. It can also be spread when infected saliva comes into contact with a scratch, open wound or the mucous membranes of the mouth, nasal cavity or eyes. When the virus enters an animal’s body, it moves through the nerves to the brain, where it multiplies quickly. The virus then proceeds to the salivary glands and other peripheral parts of the body.
The incubation period (from initial exposure to clinical symptoms) may range from two weeks to many months. It can depend on a number of factors, including the strain of rabies and the location of the bite. However, it is important to note that an animal can transmit the disease a few days before showing any clinical signs.