Animals - Rabies - People

What is Rabies?

Rabies is a viral disease that affects the brain and sinal cord in both humans and other animals. Paralysis and almost certain death result once symptoms appear. Symptoms develop in two to eight weeks after one is infected.

The disease is most likely to be seen in wildlife: raccoons, foxes, skunks, bats, and when not vaccinated against it, in cats and dogs. Rabies is, however, rarely seen in rodents such as mice, squirrels, chipmunks, guinea pigs, and hamsters, or in rabbits.

How is Rabies spread?

The rabies virus is present in the saliva of infected animals. Contaminated saliva is introduced to a human or other animal through a bite or scratch by an infected animal.

The most likely to be exposed to rabies are cats and dogs who are allowed to roam, farm animals, and humans who hunt, hike, and camp.


What to do if bitten:

...By a wild animal.

1. Immediately wash the wound with lots of soap and running water.
2. Capture or kill the animal, if possible, so it can be tested for rabies. Take care to prevent additional bites or damage to the animals head. (DO NOT FREEZE.)
3. Get medical attention. Go to your family doctor or the nearest emergency room.

...By a pet dog or cat.

1. Immediately wash the wound with lots of soap and running water.
2. Obtain the pet owner's name, address and telephone number. Find out if the animal has a current rabies vaccination (shot) and write down the rabies tag number. The owner is responsible to quarantine the animal.
3. Get medical attention. Got to your family doctor ar the nearest emergency room.

Always write down this information:

1. The type and description of the animal.
2. How and when the bite occured.
3. The behavior of the animal.
4. The owner of the animal.

How to prevent animal bites:

* Always leave animals alone when they are eating or drinking.
* Never tease or scare animals. Remember that animals guard their owners, territory and property.
* Never mistreat or hurt any animal.
* Never pet animals when they have babies.
* Never try to stop an animal fight.
* Leave injured, sick or dead animals alone, and get help from an adult.
* Leave all wild animals alone, especially when seen during the day.
* Never keep wild animals as pets, even if they are babies.
* Always ask permission before handling someone else's pet.

What to do in threatening situations:

* Stay calm.
* Stand still.
* Do not run.
* Talk softly to the animal.
* Back away slowly.

All Cats And Dogs Must Be Immunized.
It's The Law!

Key phone numbers to report animal bites:

Allegheny County Health Department - 578-8060.
Pittsburgh Animal Control - 255-2036 (Residents of Pittsburgh only)

Dog License Information can be obtained by calling 350-4100.

Information supplied by the Allegheny County Health Department.

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