Communicable Disease Management: Animal Bite Follow-up / Rabies Investigations

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Rabies Investigation Process

Rabies is an infection of the brain caused by the Rabies Virus. The Rabies Virus is passed on by the bite or scratch of an infected animal. If left untreated, Rabies can result in death of the person or animal. All animal bites need to be reported to Public Health for follow-up.

Rabies is present in Saskatchewan and is monitored by the Health Regions. Medical Staff treating patients for animal bites are required to report the animal bite incidents to Public Health for follow-up.

In Saskatchewan the animals most commonly associated with Rabies are skunks and bats. We strongly recommend that pet owners vaccinate against Rabies to protect both their pets and themselves.

What happens if I am bitten or scratched by an animal?

First thing you should do is visit a doctor to be assessed. The doctor will then fill out an Animal Bite referral form and send it in to Public Health for follow-up. Someone may contact you to ensure your Tetanus Shots are up to date, and a Health Inspector may contact you to ask questions regarding the circumstances surrounding the incident. This follow-up is to assess the risk for Rabies transmission and allow you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

What happens if I am the owner of the animal involved in a bite or scratching incident?

A Health inspector will contact you to discuss the circumstances surrounding the event and to inquire into vaccination history and current health status of the animal. In most cases the inspector will then ask that you keep your animal inside and under your care and control for a 10 day observation period. This is necessary to confirm that the animal was not able to transmit Rabies at the time of the incident.

For more information on Rabies and animal bite follow-up please contact us at 306-766-7755.

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