Animal bites

If notification of a domestic animal bite report is received, the Putnam County Health Department will place the biting dog, cat or ferret under a quarantine for at least 10 days, usually at the owner’s home. If the animal remains healthy during quarantine, the person bitten was not exposed to the rabies virus. Wild animals and stray animals are usually tested if possible. This means the animal must be killed because the test is done on the brain. The Putnam County Health Department can advise you and/or your veterinarian on how to have this done.

What should I do if I am bitten by an animal?

  • Wash the wound with lots of soap and water right away.
  • Call your doctor.
  • Capture the animal, if you can do it safely, or get the name and address of the animal’s owner.

What is Rabies?

Rabies is a virus that attacks the brain and nervous system. It can infect all mammals and is seen mostly in bats, skunks, raccoons and other wild animals. People can also get the disease. Once a person or animal becomes sick with rabies, they will usually die. The last known case of human rabies in Ohio was in the 1970s.

How do people get Rabies?

The virus is in the saliva of an infected animal. People get rabies by being bitten by a rabid animal or by getting saliva from the animal into an open cut or mucous membrane (nose, mouth, or eyes).

How can I tell if an animal has Rabies?

Usually, the first sign of rabies is a change in the animal’s behavior. They can become aggressive, attacking for no reason, or they may become very quiet. Wild animals can lose their fear of people and act tame. Rabid animals may walk in a circle, drag a leg, or fall over. Some can not swallow so they are not able to eat or drink and often drool. Animals usually die within a week after first becoming ill.

If the biting animal is dead…

Wear gloves or use a shovel to move the animal.

  • Put the animal’s body in a heavy duty plastic bag and place it in a cold place away from people and other animals.
  • Clean the area with one part bleach to ten parts water.
  • Call the Putnam County Health Department 419-523-5608.

Can Rabies be treated?

Yes! If you are exposed to a rabid animal, you get one shot of rabies immune globulin and a series of five shots of vaccine. The vaccine is given in the arm. Treatment must begin soon after the exposure to be effective.

How to report an animal bite?

Have this information ready:

  • How and where the bite occurred.
  • Breed and description of the animal (color, markings, long or short hair).
  • If it was a pet, name, address and telephone number of owner.
  • If the owner is unknown, was the animal wearing a collar or tags.
  • Whether the animal has been seen in the area and what direction
    it was traveling.