Our animal bites services include Rabies testing and animal bite investigation, as well as disease investigation and reporting

Actions Following a Potential Rabies Exposure

The following actions should be taken if a person is bitten or otherwise possibly exposed to a rabid animal:

  • Domestic animals: Identify the animal and contact animal control to provide description. Dogs, cats, and ferrets may be quarantined for ten days (depending on circumstances), or they may be euthanized and tested for rabies. Other domestic animals are handled on a case-by-case basis.
  • Wild animals: Identify and, if possible, confine the biting animal for rabies testing. If euthanized, attempt to keep brain matter in tact. No quarantine period is recognized for wild animals.
  • Wash the wound immediately and thoroughly with soap and water for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Animal control: If you or your child is bitten by an animal, call your doctor right away after an animal bite. Find out if rabies treatment or other medical care is needed.
  • Seek medical attention: Go to nearest Emergency Room or consult with your Primary care provider.


Rabies is a viral disease mostly occurring in wild animals such as as bats and skunks, but domestic species may also become infected. Rabies is transmitted primarily by bites to humans and is almost invariably fatal once symptoms appear. Fortunately, Anti-Rabies shots have been developed for persons exposed to the virus to prevent infection.

Things you can do to protect yourself from rabies include:

  • Keep vaccinations up to date for all dogs, cats, and ferrets.
  • Children are the most common victims of dog bites. Teach your children to be careful around dogs and to practice basic safety tips to prevent a bite.
  • Always ask the owner for permission before petting a dog.
  • If an unknown dog comes near, don’t touch or interact with the dog.

Dogs usually bite someone because they feel threatened and are protecting themselves. It is important to educate yourself and your children about ways to practice basic safety, to prevent a possible rabies exposure.

Animal Control

Call animal control to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood. Never handle, feed or intentionally attract wild animals. Teach children to never handle unfamiliar animals. Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces such as homes, churches or schools. When traveling abroad, avoid contact with wild animals and be especially careful around dogs in developing countries as rabies is common in many developing countries.

If you suspect you or your pet may have been exposed to rabies, you should contact your physician or veterinarian.

Reporting an animal bite

It is the responsibility of a person bitten by an animal, or the parent or guardian of a minor bitten by an animal, to report the bite to a physician, local law enforcement and/or the Sullivan County Health Department immediately:

Please have the following information prior to reporting:

  • Name and address of the animal’s owner (if available)
  • Date, time, and location of the bite incident
  • Location on the body where the person was bitten
  • General description of the biting animal

The report should be made to the Sullivan County Health Dept. At (660)265-4141 during normal business hours 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. After normal business hours or on weekends and holidays report to the emergency room (if necessary) or contact local law enforcement.

Press here for Rabies reports