Animal Bites / Rabies

According to Ohio Administrative Code 3701-3-28, “Whenever a person is bitten by a dog or other mammal, report of such bite shall be made within 24 hours to the health commissioner of the district in which the bite occurred.” If you have been bitten by an animal or know someone who has, please report this to the Ross County Health District.

What we do:

RCHD is required to quarantine all dogs, cats, and ferrets that bite people to observe the animal for signs of rabies. By observing the animal, health district staff can determine if the person bitten needs to seek rabies post exposure shots if rabies is detected during the 10-day quarantine.

What are the Quarantine Requirements?

The quarantine is for 10 days and is most typically done at the animal owner’s home. The purpose of the quarantine is to ensure that the biting animal does not have rabies. If the biting animal has rabies at the time it bit, the symptoms of rabies will be seen in that dog, cat or ferret within 10 days following the bite. If the animal owner chooses not to quarantine the animal for 10 days and would prefer to have the animal euthanized, then the animal must be sent to the Ohio Department of Health to be tested for rabies.

What to do if you are bitten or scratched by an animal?

  • Thoroughly clean the wound area with soap and water and cover with a clean dressing or bandage.
  • Immediately seek medical care with your family doctor, urgent care or emergency room. Many bites are puncture wounds that can easily become infected if not cared for properly.
  • Try to obtain information about the animal’s owner including name, address and telephone number.
  • Try to obtain information about the biting animal such as the type of animal, color, breed, name and rabies tag.

Make sure that the healthcare provider reports the animal bite to Ross County Health District, if not please contact the Ross County Health District at (740) 775-1158 to file an animal bite report.


Rabies is a viral disease of mammals that is most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The virus travels through the central nervous system to the brain. Once it reaches the brain, the disease nearly always causes death. This is a disease that is preventable in several ways; keeping our pets currently vaccinated against rabies and avoiding encounters with wild animals like bats, skunks, raccoons, and foxes. If bitten by an animal seek immediate medical attention and rabies treatment.

Rabies is spread or transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal to another animal or human. Usually, this happens through a bite that breaks the skin or contact with saliva into an open scratch or wound. On very rare occasions, it has been documented that it can be spread if someone’s eyes, nose or mouth comes in contact with saliva of a rabid animal.

In Ohio, the most common animals to have rabies are bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes, and coyotes. Bats are known to be the more of a higher risk for rabies in Ross County compared to the other species listed. Exposures to a bat can occur in many ways, and if you have an exposure, you should contact RCHD to determine if you need post exposure treatment for rabies. Exposure can include:

  1. Direct contact with a bat such as handling a bat.
  2. Having a bat hit or fly into you or seeing marks on your skin after coming in contact with a bat.
  3. Unknown contact with a bat such as waking up and seeing a bat in the room with you.
  4. Finding a bat near a young child either outside or in a room or building.

Please remember to protect your pets from rabies by keeping them current on rabies vaccination. In event that your pet may be bitten by a wild animal or exposed to a bat, contact your local veterinarian and the health district to determine the next steps to ensure your pet receives post exposure treatment if determined necessary by your vet and health district staff. For more information on animal bites, exposure to rabies, and bat encounters and determining rabies risk, contact our office to discuss by calling (740) 775-1158.

If you feel you have been exposed to a bat or bitten by a bat, please seek immediate medical attention at a local emergency room and explain to them that you may have been exposed to a bat.

If the bat is seen and be captured, please do not damage the head of the bat. Contact our office to see how you can have the bat tested for rabies if the bat can be captured. We recommend preventing contact with any dead bat or live bats in your house, you should contact a wildlife specialist to have the bat removed from your home to limit exposure.

Do not take a captured bat into the urgent care or emergency room. Please call Ross County Health District to arrange animal testing.

Report Animal Bites or Rabies Exposures

Rabies & Animal Bite Fact Sheet