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Rabies in Niagara

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is implementing a new measure to protect Canadians and their pets, and to reduce the risk of introducing dog rabies (rabies caused by canine-variant viruses) into Canada. As of Sept. 28, commercial dogs from countries at high-risk for canine rabies will no longer be permitted entry into Canada. Commercial dogs can include, but are not limited to, dogs for resale, adoption, fostering, breeding, show or exhibition, research and other purposes. See countries at high-risk for dog rabies.

Niagara has confirmed cases of rabies in animals.

The warmer weather is approaching and humans and animals will be more active. It's important that residents learn about rabies, prevention, and what to do if an animal bites you.

Signs an animal may have rabies:

  • Increased aggression
  • Depression
  • Paralysis in the face or hind legs

Statistics in Niagara


Rabies prevention video

Bjorn Christensen, former director, Environmental Health speaks about rabies prevention.

Protect against rabies

Every owner or person having the care or custody of a cat, dog or ferret three months of age or over must have them immunized against rabies.

To help protect against rabies:

  • Don't feed wild animals
  • Warn your children to stay away from wild or stray animals
  • Don't attempt to trap wild animals on your property
  • Don't keep wildlife as pets
  • Don't touch dead or sick animals
  • Don't try to nurse sick animals to health
  • Don't relocate any wild animals

Have you been bitten by a dog or cat?

Rabies is transmitted through saliva from bites or scratches from infected animals. If you have been in contact with an animal that might have rabies, you should:

  1. Wash the wound - Use soap and antiseptic under running water for five minutes
     
  2. See a doctor - The rabies vaccine needs to be administered soon after exposure
     
  3. Report the animal - Give the doctor as much information about the animal as possible

Your doctor will contact Public Health who will investigate the claim.

If the animal can be located, a health inspector will confine the animal for ten days to check for symptoms. We will not remove a healthy animal from the owner.

After ten days, the health inspector will return and release the animal if it's healthy, and the person who was bitten is notified that there's no risk of rabies.

If you're bitten by an animal other than a dog or cat, each situation will be risk-assessed by Public Health to determine next steps.

More information on rabies vaccinations

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