Animal Bites and Rabies Prevention

The Portage County Health District (PCHD) Rabies Prevention Program serves to protect the public from the threat of rabies. Rabies is a serious disease that affects animals and humans and can result in death if left untreated. It is commonly associated with wild animals such as raccoons, skunk, bats, foxes and coyotes. The disease can spread to people and pets when the saliva from a rabid animal enters the body by way of a bite or a scratch, or through contact with the eyes, nose or mouth.

Rabies is very preventable. PCHD program services and activities are carried out in an effort to minimize human exposure to the disease. We strive to educate our communities on the importance of vaccinating our pets, avoiding contact with wildlife and strays, and reporting all animal bite and exposure incidents to our office.

All dogs, and cats residing in the Portage County Health District’s jurisdiction are required to be vaccinated against the rabies virus when they turn four (4) months old. Animals are required to be issued a PCHD rabies vaccination tag after receiving the rabies vaccination at a local veterinary office or clinic.

Things We Do:

  • Respond to reported animal bites and potential rabies exposures.
  • Obtain pertinent health and vaccination information on the biting animal and verify that the required quarantine is administered.
  • Educate the public about not feeding wild animals, approaching wildlife or picking up injured animals while at the park or in the woods.
  • Work closely with local animal control officers to investigate reported bites and to address issues involved stray, feral or wild animals.
  • Maintain a strong working partnership with our local veterinary industry and the Cleveland Academy of Veterinary Medicine.

Animals are only released from quarantine when properly vaccinated against the rabies virus by a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine. The animal must also be confirmed alive by a veterinarian or PCHD staff at the end of the quarantine period. Animals that are not currently vaccinated against rabies at the time of the bite or exposure must be seen and evaluated by a veterinarian.

Animal Bite & Exposure Incident Investigations

State and local regulations require that all animal bites, scratches and rabies exposure incidents be reported to the local health department within a 24-hour period.

To report a bite or exposure incident, please complete and fax the Animal Bite Report Form to our office at 330-298-4492 or contact us by phone at 330-298-4490.

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