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golden retriever

Rabies Program

If You've Been Bitten

Don’t panic . . . but don’t ignore the bite, either. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and lots of water. Washing thoroughly will greatly lessen the chance of infection. Give first aid as you would for any wound.

If possible, capture the animal under a large box or can, or at least identify it before it runs away.  Don’t try to pick the animal up. Call an animal control or law enforcement officer to come get it.

If it’s a wild animal that must be killed, don’t damage the head. The brain will be needed to test for rabies. Don’t let anyone destroy wild animals at random just because there may be a rabies  outbreak in your area. Only a few wild animals will be carrying rabies.

It's critically important that you notify your family doctor immediately and explain how you got the bite. Your doctor will want to know if the animal has been captured. If necessary, your doctor will give the anti-rabies treatment recommended by the United States Public Health Service. Your doctor will also treat you for other possible infections that could be caused from
the bite.

• Report the bite to Environmental Health Services at your local health department.

[After hours please call your local emergency/police dispatcher]


Division of Environmental Epidemiology

Center for Disease Control

Last Updated: 08-18-2011

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