Animal Bites & Scratches

Every year, public health inspectors at the Thunder Bay District Health Unit investigate over 200 suspected rabies cases. No cases have been found in domestic cats or dogs, but it has been found in wildlife in the area including foxes, bats and skunks. The virus can be passed to a human through a bite or scratch from an infected animal (wild or domestic)

Animal bites, whether from a domestic animal or a wild animal, can be dangerous for several reasons. One of the rare but serious risks is rabies, a virus that attacks the nervous system. The infection is 100% fatal unless treated.

The risk of infection is low, however, it is important to take all bites seriously. That’s why any person who has information about a bite or any other contact that might result in rabies has a legal duty to report this information to the TBDHU as quickly as possible.


What to do if Bitten or Scratched

  1. Contact a Health Care Provider to get a Rabies risk assessment.  An Animal Bite/Exposure Report (PDF) will need to be completed with the name, address and phone number of both the victim and the owner of the suspect animal (if applicable) and faxed to (807-625-4822).  A public health inspector will investigate the incident to determine the risk for rabies.
  2. Call the Thunder Bay District Health Unit and ask to speak with a health inspector:
  • Thunder Bay (807) 625-5900
  • District: 1-888-294-6630
  • Thunder Bay Answering Service (after Hours): (807) 623-7451
  1. If treatment is warranted, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit will provide the vaccine to the Health Care Provider.


District Animal Services

Please click on the appropriate link to get information about animal services in your area.




For Further Information

Call the Public Health Inspector: (807) 625-5900

or toll-free 1-888-294-6630

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