Now that the warmer weather has arrived and families are getting out and about, the risk of being bitten or scratched by domestic and wild animals increases. In the spring, many animals have babies and their cuteness sometimes makes it difficult to not want to pick them up or get a closer look. All animals will protect their young; bites often result when someone gets too close.
The Health Unit is reminding everyone that animal bites are preventable. “Each year the Health Unit responds to hundreds of animal bites and scratches,” says Senior Public Health Inspector, Teresa Clow. “Along with the pain and possible emotional or physical scarring caused by a bite, is the risk of exposure to rabies.”
You can prevent animal bites and scratches by following these simple tips:
- Ask the animal’s owner if it is okay to approach or touch a dog when it is on a leash
- Stay away from wild, stray or unknown animals
- Never leave small children unattended in the presence of an animal
- Don’t disturb an animal that is eating, sleeping or caring for its young or is exhibiting signs of illness
- Be aware of your surroundings when running or biking as dogs like to chase things
- Never reach through a fence or enter a home unannounced as dogs may be protective of their territory and may feel you are a threat
If you are bitten or scratched be sure to get the animal owners name, address and phone number and report the incident to the Health Unit at 1-800-660-5853 as soon as possible (call 613-345-5685 after hours and on weekends). Pet owners should speak to a veterinarian about aggressive behaviour and have all pets vaccinated against rabies. It is the law to have your pets vaccinated.
For more information, visit: http://healthunit.org/health-information/rabies/preventing-animal-bites/