Pest Control and Animal Bites
We respond to complaints and concerns about pest infestations (such as rats, mice and insects) and animal bite incidents. We work to reduce pest exposure (insects & rodents) which can transmit diseases or infections. Pest control is any method to limit or eradicate the pests which carry or transmit viruses or parasites responsible for vector-borne diseases such as West Nile Virus, Avian Influenza, Lyme Disease and Rabies.
Animal Bites & Rabies
Rabies is an infection of the brain caused by the rabies virus. The rabies virus is passed on by the bite or scratch of an infected animal. If not treated, rabies can result in death of the person or animal. All animal bites need to be reported to public health for follow up.
Rabies is present in Saskatchewan and is monitored by the health regions and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The CFIA is responsible for submitting samples and diagnosing rabies, establishing quarantines where indicated, approving rabies vaccines, implementing border controls, providing geographic and species statistics, developing national policy and continuing research. Medical staff treating patients for animal bites are required to report the animal bite incident to public health for follow up.
In Saskatchewan the animals most commonly associated with rabies are skunks and bats. We strongly recommend that pet owners vaccinate pets against rabies to protect both pets and their owners.
How can a person get rabies?
- Saliva from a rabid animal entering the bite wound is the main way people become infected.
- Rarely, a person can become infected by a non-bite exposure when the saliva of a rabid animal enters a fresh scratch or break in the skin, or enters the eyes, nose or mouth.
- A rabid animal can spread rabies up to ten days before the animal shows any symptoms.
- People exposed to a bat can also get rabies even though no bat bite is noticed. This is because bat bites are very small and not easily seen. Bat exposure is considered to be very high risk. If you are not sure about your exposure to a bat please contact the Public Health Inspection Department at 306-778-5280.
What should you do if bitten by an animal?
- The first thing to do is thoroughly wash the wound with soap and water.
- See a doctor who will provide treatment and report the incident to Public Health for follow up.
- It is very important that you provide the name, address, and telephone number of the animal owner so that a follow up investigation can be carried out.
- A tetanus booster may also be needed.
- If rabies is suspected the rabies vaccine will be given. Rabies vaccines are very effective and relatively painless. This is rarely necessary as the risk of rabies is very low.
What happens if a pet dog or cat bites me?
- If a dog or cat that seems healthy bites someone, the animal owner is asked to keep the animal confined on their property for a ten day observation period. This is to ensure that the animal is healthy and did not spread rabies when it bit. No further treatment is necessary if the animal is healthy at the end of the ten day observation period.
- The signs of rabies in the biting animal will most likely be obvious within 3 to 5 days after the bite, if the animal is rabid.
- If the animal dies or is euthanized (put to sleep) within the ten day observation period the animal may be sent away by the CFIA for a rabies test.
How long will it take to know if I have rabies?
Rabies symptoms can appear anywhere from three weeks to several months after the bite from a rabid animal, depending on where the bite is, how severe the bite is, and the strain of rabies.
How can you tell if an animal has rabies?
In the early stages of rabies an animal may look healthy; however animals with rabies will show strange behavior later on. A rabid animal can pass on the rabies virus up to ten days before it starts to show any symptoms.
Symptoms a rabid animal may show include:
- Drooping head, drooling or partial paralysis such as in the rear legs.
- Animals may become very aggressive or excited followed by periods of depression.
- Wild animals may lose their fear of humans, especially skunks.
Can I safely capture a bat in my home?
If a bat is in your home and you are not sure if someone has been bitten by it (e.g. a bat found in a bedroom while someone is sleeping or a small child left alone in a room) then use the following information to capture the bat safely.
What you will need:
- leather work gloves (put them on)
- small box or coffee can
- piece of cardboard
When the bat lands, approach it slowly, while wearing the gloves, and place the box or coffee can over it. Slide the cardboard under the container to trap the bat inside. Tape the cardboard to the container securely, and punch small holes in the cardboard, allowing the bat to breathe. Contact Public Health Services at 306.778.5030 or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to make arrangements for rabies testing.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency – Swift Current Branch
1677 Sidney Street
P.O. Box 1235
Swift Current, Saskatchewan S9H 3X4
If you see a bat in your home and you are sure no human or pet exposure has occurred, shut the bat in the room by closing all doors and windows leading out of the room except those to the outside. The bat will probably leave soon. If the bat will not leave, it can be caught, as described, and released outdoors away from people and pets.
Animal Bite Information
Pest Control Resources
- Bed Bug Brochure
- Ticks and Lyme Disease
- Rat Brochure
- West Nile Brochure
- West Nile Virus And Your Property
- West Nile Virus And Camping
- Controlling Cockroaches
- Dealing With Pests