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Summer Means Sun, Fun and an Increase in Animal Bites

June 25, 2009

Warm weather brings more outdoor fun for both people and animals. But did you know that animal bites are also more prevalent during this time?


The Cudahy Health and Police Departments typically see a rise in animal bites during warm weather months. Knowing how to handle an animal bite properly will help keep you and your community safe.


Despite popular myths, the rabies series does NOT consist of numerous, painful injections into the stomach. In reality, the rabies series consists of an initial injection of rabies vaccine in the upper arm and injecting the bite area with the rabies immune globulin. Rabies vaccine is given as one injection on day 3, 7, 14 and 28 after the day of the bite.


Animals that bite are NOT automatically euthanized. Animals that bite are quarantined for 10 days. If an animal is current with its rabies vaccination, it can be quarantined within the home. During an in-home quarantine the animal must be kept indoors, in an escape proof enclosure or on a leash at all times.


Animals that are not current with rabies vaccination must be quarantined at a veterinarian’s office or MADAC (Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control) at the owner’s expense. The quarantine period ensures that the animal can be observed for signs of rabies, and allows prompt treatment for the bite victim.


Pet owners should keep current with their pets’ vaccinations and licenses. Don’t allow pets to be teased. Keep pets in fenced yards, on leashes or indoors. Finally, train dogs to obey commands.


If you are bitten by an animal, remain calm. Wash the area with soap and water for a minimum of 5 minutes. Rinse the area vigorously with water. If there is bleeding, apply pressure to the bite. Get medical attention that same day if:


•The bite is on the face, gapes or bleeding does not stop with pressure after 10 minutes.

•If it has been more than 5 years since the last tetanus booster or you can’t recall the date of your last tetanus booster.

•The bite or scratch is a puncture wound from a cat. You may need antibiotics.

•If the animal is a stray or its vaccination status is unknown, you may need rabies vaccine.

•Report the bite to the Cudahy Police Department, 769-2260.

•Call the Cudahy Health Department, 769-2239 with health related concerns.

•Watch the bite for signs of infection: redness, warmth, swelling, drainage or pain. Call your doctor IMMEDIATELY if these occur.

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