Animal Bite Investigations
The Department of Health and Wellness plays a leadership role in the prevention of human rabies by investigating all incidents of animal bites. Human contact with an animal suspected to have rabies or known to be infected with rabies must be reported to the Chief Public Health Office consistent with the Public Health Act. Reporting ensures that steps are taken to locate the animal, arrange for testing, and make appropriate and timely decisions regarding treatment of persons exposed to the animal.
What is rabies?
Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system of mammals, including humans. Once clinical signs appear, rabies is almost always fatal in animals and people. In Canada, the animals that most often transmit rabies are bats, skunks, foxes and racoons (Canadian Food Inspection Agency). For more information on rabies please visit “Rabies”
I was bitten by my pet dog. Should I get medical attention?
Yes. A bite from any animal can be serious and should be examined by a health care professional. Immediate and thorough cleaning of the wound can help to prevent infection. Wounds should be thoroughly washed and flushed with running water, and then an antiseptic can be applied.
I was bitten by a wild animal. Do I need to report it?
Yes. All wild animal bites are of concern. Any biting incident involving a wild animal (such as a raccoon, fox, skunk) and a human must be reported to the Chief Public Health Officer, through the Environmental Health Office at (902) 368-4970. Together with the Forests, Fish & Wildlife Division of the Department of Communities, Land & Environment, the incident will be investigated and the necessary follow-up conducted.
I found a bat in my house. What should I do?
If someone in your home was bitten by a bat, came in contact with a bat, or if contact with the bat cannot be ruled out, you should contact the Department of Health & Wellness. The incident will be investigated and the necessary follow-up conducted.
Should my pet be vaccinated for rabies?
Yes. Vaccinations are important to keep your pet safe and healthy. Contact your local veterinary clinic to discuss the appropriate vaccinations for your pet.
Who can I contact for more information or to report an animal bite?
Environmental Health, Department of Health & Wellness
Telephone: (902) 368-4970
Toll Free: 1(800)958-6400
Fax: (902) 368-6468