Rabies

NOTE:

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry will be conducting two rounds of oral rabies baiting in southern Ontario this spring in response to racoon rabies.

The ministry's surveillance and control map shows areas to be baited including most of Waterloo Region as it lies within the 50 km radius of animals that have tested positive for rabies.

Rabies Vaccine-Bait Identification Fact Sheet - Ministry of Natural Resources - Wildlife Research and Monitoring Section


About rabies

Rabies is a potentially fatal viral disease which attacks the nervous system of warm blooded animals, including humans.

The rabies virus is concentrated in the saliva of infected animals. It is spread when the saliva enters a cut or wound of another animal or human through a bite or scratch. The virus can also be passed through contact with mucous membranes such as the mouth or eyes.

Once symptoms appear, rabies is almost always fatal in animals and humans.

Animal Bite / Contact Report


Recognize signs of rabies

There are two types of rabies:

  • Dumb Rabies
  • Furious Rabies

Animals suffering from dumb rabies may become depressed and hide in isolated places. Wild animals may become unusually friendly.

Animals suffering from furious rabies may become excited and aggressive, alternating with periods of depression.


Prevent a bite

  • Make sure your pets are vaccinated against rabies.
  • Don't let your pets run free and keep them indoors at night.
  • Remove all outdoor food sources for wild animals.
  • Do not handle dead animals.
  • Be cautious with both wild animals and pets that do not belong to you; stay at a safe distance.
  • Do not tease animals.
  • Never disturb a dog or cat while they are sleeping, eating, or caring for their young.

If you think your animals are sick - call your vet!

For more information, check the How to Bite-proof My Dog spec sheet.


After a bite

If a person or a pet is bitten or scratched, the affected area should be thoroughly washed with soap and water. Washing greatly reduces the chance of infection.

Next, call your family doctor or go to the nearest hospital emergency department or urgent care facility. Also report the bite or scratch to Region of Waterloo Public Health at 519-575-4400 x 5147.

Animal Bite / Contact Report


Preventive vaccination for pets

It is the law. All cats and dogs over the age of three months must be vaccinated against rabies as required by the Rabies Immunization Regulation (Reg. 567 as amended to O.Reg 360/01 under the Health Protection Promotion Act). Pet owners whose animals are not immunized can be fined.


Information for children about rabies

Take a key role in educating children about rabies and helping to prevent the spread of this deadly disease!

Due to the growing threat of raccoon rabies, family pets are at increased risk of exposure to rabies, and this could in turn lead to an increased risk of human exposure.

The Rabies-Free Ontario Education Package contains grade specific lesson plans intended to provide students with an age appropriate definition of rabies and specific information about the methods of rabies prevention and treatment in both humans and animals.

This package is designed to promote an awareness of the potential dangers of this life-threatening disease and promote safe ways of interacting with both pets and wildlife.

Children's Information Pamphlet

Lesson Plans

 Grade 1

Grade 3 

 Grade 5 

 Grade 2 

Grade 4  

 Grade 6


Region of Waterloo Public Health - Program Overview

To ensure your safety, Region of Waterloo Public Health:

  • Investigates all reported animal bites to humans.
  • Ensures that dogs and cats are quarantined for a ten-day period.
  • Arranges to test wild animals after they have bitten humans.
  • Ensures that people exposed to a potentially rabid animal receive treatment.
  • Provides education to the community about rabies.
  • Promotes the vaccination of cats and dogs.

Rabies Program Overview - Presentation


Test your knowledge...

...take the Rabies Quiz


More information

To learn how you can tell if an animal has rabies, how to treat a bite, and for more information about rabies, check our Rabies Fact Sheet.

Region of Waterloo Public Health
Fight the Bite Brochure 

Region of Waterloo Public Health, Health Protection and Investigation: 519-575-4400 x 5147

Ontarion Association of Veterinary Technicians

Ministry of Health and Long Term Care

Ministry of Natural Resources

Centres of Disease Control and Prevention

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