Bites and Scratches

Q: Why do I have to report that my own dog or cat bit me?
A: To protect not only your own health, but other persons as well by assuring that your pet remains healthy for 10 days after the incident.

Q: Will I get my friends “in trouble” if I report that their pet bit scratched me?
A: No. YOU will assure the safety of yourself and others that may come in contact with the pet by knowing that it was quarantined for 10 days and properly vaccinated.

Q: Why is my pet put under “quarantine” even if it is currently vaccinated?
A: By observing the animal for 10 days we are assured that the pet could not have been shedding the tables virus in its saliva at the time of the bite or scratch.

Q: Why should significant scratches also be reported?
A: Many animals lick their paws; especially cats and dogs frequently lay with their heads on their feet, subsequently putting potentially infected saliva in direct contact with their toenails.

Q: Are you going to take my pet away from me?
A: Not necessarily. In most cases home confinement will be allowed certain conditions are met. Or the animal may be quarantined at the animal shelter, at the owner’s expense.

Q: How can know if my pet may have rabies?
A: Only a laboratory test of the animal’s brain tissue can definitely diagnose Rabies virus. Rabies is a viral disease affecting the central nervous system. Early signs are behavioral and may include hiding, refusal to interact with family members, in general just not “feeling good”; other symptoms may be inability to walk or stand, excessive salivation (due to throat and jaw muscles becoming paralyzed) and finally convulsions and/or excessively aggressive behavior.

Q: What should I do if I am bitten or scratched and why?
A: Wash the wound with soap and water for 15 minutes. Yes, that is a long time but it is effective in removing the rabies virus.
Check to see if your tetanus shot is current.
Notify your family physician in regards to treatment of the wound.
Notify Animal Control and provide animal owner information, description of the animal and its location.
IF you don’t you could get rabies!!!

Brunswick County Animal Services is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for animal bite investigations and for reporting suspected rabid animals. You can reach an animal control officer Monday – Thursday 8am – 6pm, Friday 8am-5pm and Saturday 8am-2pm by calling the shelter at 754-8204. After office hours or on holidays, call 911 and they will dispatch an on-call officer.