Animal bites, even minor ones, can sometimes lead to infection. Bacteria from an animal’s mouth can enter the wound and spread. In rare cases, a potentially-fatal infection called rabies can be transmitted. In Canada, wild animals like raccoons, skunks, squirrels, and bats are most likely to spread rabies.
A rabies infection may take at least a few days or weeks to incubate, but it’s vital to seek professional medical treatment immediately after being bitten. Once symptoms begin to appear, treatment and recovery could be more difficult.
What to do if bitten by a wild animal:
Do your best to stay calm. Even though you cannot determine whether the animal has rabies, know that the disease is curable when addressed right away. Vaccines are available to prevent infection.
Encourage a minor wound to bleed a little. Squeezing it gently or applying pressure on its sides will help flush out bacteria. If the wound is already bleeding freely, do not encourage it any further. Wash the bite carefully with running water and mild soap. Make sure your hands are clean. Then, apply an antibiotic ointment. If the wound is still bleeding heavily, stop the blood flow by applying pressure with a sterile cloth or bandage over the wound. This can prevent shock and blood loss.
Get a Rabies and Tetanus Shot
Regardless of the severity of the wound, seek immediate medical help. A rabies shot should be given within 24 hours of a bite. Like most viral infections, symptoms of rabies start with fever, headache, and weakness. This can progress to hallucinations, paralysis, and foaming of the mouth. If rabies infects the brain, death can occur. If you haven’t had a tetanus vaccine in the past five years, you may need a booster shot.
Follow Treatment Schedule
An animal bite treatment is not a one-shot deal. A series of rabies vaccine shots will be administered within one-month frame. Follow your doctor’s orders to protect yourself and begin the healing process.
Animal bites can be prevented. Avoid wild animals and do not try to harm or provoke them. Never try to capture an animal that is frequently visiting your property. Instead, call a wildlife removal professional. They have the equipment, knowledge, and skills to safely remove animals that pose a threat.
With 14 years in the business, Liddle Rascals Wildlife Control in the Greater Toronto Area has the experience to help with your animal control needs. Give us a call today at (416) 356-5886, or email us.