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Animal Bites and Rabies Prevention

How to report animal bites in Washington County, Oregon and what to do if your pet is exposed to rabies.

If an animal bites you

Get medical help if needed, then call 503-846-3594 to report the bite to Washington County Disease Control and Prevention (DCAP). You must report the bite! We can give you resources for help and information.

If your dog or cat bites a human

Call 503-846-3594. Dogs and cats that bite humans and break the skin must be quarantined and observed for 10 days to make sure there are no signs of rabies. If an animal is up to date on its rabies vaccine, it can usually be observed at home. If an animal is not up to date on its rabies vaccine, or if the bite was a really dangerous one, the animal may be required to be quarantined and observed at a veterinarian's office or with Washington County Animal Services. In most cases, the animal will be returned to the owner at the end of the observation period.

If your dog or cat is exposed to an animal with rabies

Call 503-846-3594. Sometimes, dogs and cats in Oregon are exposed to rabies. This can happen when a pet finds a bat (or a bat flies into your home) and the bat has rabies.

If your dog or cat is exposed to an animal known to have rabies, they must be quarantined and observed.

If your dog or cat is current on their rabies vaccination, they must serve a 45-day quarantine/observation. This can usually be done at home.

If your dog or cat is not current on their rabies vaccination, they must serve a four-month quarantine. During the quarantine, your dog or cat cannot have direct contact with people or other animals.

By law, you must vaccinate your dog against rabies, but pet owners can sometimes forget to vaccinate their cats. Cats are more likely to find bats than dogs. Even indoor cats have been exposed to rabid bats! This is why it is important to keep both your cats and dogs up to date on their rabies vaccines.

About rabies

Rabies is a rare and preventable disease that is mainly spread through animal bites, but you can also be get it by handling an animal with rabies. If you get treatment quickly after exposure to rabies, you should be fine. If you do not get treatment, rabies is fatal.

You must report any animal bites as soon as they happen. Treatment for rabies is a series of shots. These shots are not any more painful than most vaccines you receive.

In Oregon, bats are by far the most common carrier of rabies. However, any mammal can have rabies. If you have been bitten by a wild animal of any kind, it is important to seek help. It is also important to seek help if you have been bitten by a dog or a cat.

Dogs and cats that have bitten someone will be observed for 10 days from the date of the bite for signs of rabies.

If you have been exposed to a bat, call 503-846-3594. If it is determined that your exposure may be potentially dangerous, Washington County will guide you on how to get the bat and have it tested.

If you have been bitten by any animal that is now dead, you should save the carcass for examination. Remember to wear gloves if you need to touch an animal carcass.

The best way to prevent rabies is for dogs and cats to be vaccinated against the disease. In countries where rabies is common, it is most often passed to humans by dog bites. Rabies is rare in the United States because most dogs receive rabies vaccines.

Help keep our community safe by keeping your dogs and cats up to date on their rabies vaccines!

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