Environmental Health - Animal Bite Program

PURPOSE OF REPORTING AND SURVEILLANCE

This guide is to explain the Animal Bite Program for Crook County.  It follows the requirements of
ORS 433OAR 333-019-0345 and The National Association of State Public Health Veterinarian, Compendium of Animal Rabies Control (CARC)-current version.

To assess the risk of rabies exposure in persons bitten or otherwise exposed to animal saliva, in order to recommend post-exposure rabies prophylaxis (PERP) to those that need it, and to provide counseling and reassurance to those who don’t.

As necessary, to arrange for the capture and either confinement (10-day observation) of a live dog, cat or ferret or the laboratory examination of an animal head.


REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

All animal bites/scratches/lacerations to humans that results in contact between saliva and non-intact skin or mucous membrane must be reported within 24 hours to Crook County Health Department (HD)(541-447-5165) or Crook County Environmental Health Department (EH)(541-447-8155).

Any confirmed cases of rabies in animals and any suspected or confirmed case of human rabies must be reported immediately (day or night) to the HD, or—if LHD staff cannot be contacted –to the OHD(503-731-4030).

Such a report shall be made by, the person having knowledge of the bite, dog control officers, peace officers, owners of the animal, persons having care of the animal, person bitten by the animal, health care providers, and veterinarians.  The HD/EH will assess the bite information and determine what actions need to be taken.


GENERAL PROCEDURES

The officer or individual making first contact with the owner or bite victim must get as much information as possible to pass on to the HD/EH personnel for follow-up.  A standard form has been developed, but any format from the officer can be used as long as it has; date, time, persons involved, location of the animal, and phone numbers of all interested parties and name of veterinarian.

The first person on the scene of an attack/bite needs to try and determine if the animal bite was provoked or unprovoked.  Unprovoked bites are defined as when an animal has one or more avenues of escape, and deliberately crosses neutral space to attack.  A provoked attached is when the animal attacks when handling and petting, cornering, taking away food, disciplining, falling on, releasing from a trap, intervening in flight or perdition, or helping after an injury, to name only a few instances.

EH will use the information provided by the officer, veterinarian, medical personnel, etc and conduct a follow-up investigation and provide guidance as to the disposition of the animal involved.


CONFINEMENT

No animal will be sacrificed at the time of the event unless it is a wild/feral animal that will be impossible to locate or find in the future for quarantine.  Confinement and observation is the preferred follow-up for dogs and cats that have bitten people, preferably at the owner’s expense. If the animal can be safely confined at the home of the individual and is not free to roam/harm anyone the quarantine can be under house/yard confinement.  The peace officer or health official at the site of the bite will determine this.

Animals needing to be confined at the animal shelter will be either transported to the shelter by law enforcement personnel (county/city) or the animals owner.   The cost of the confinement will be the owners responsibility, or the County's if the owner is not located.  If the owner does not want to pay for confinement the animal will be sacrificed and the head sent in for testing.

Observation of any animal (dog/cat/ferret)  placed in confinement shall be for the 10 days following the bite, and will be conducted under the supervision of a person designated by the county health officer, or under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.  The EH department will follow-up on all quarantined animals to assure the proper paper work and processing has been completed.

EH personnel will fill out the Crook County Animal Bite Quarantine Form.  If the animal head needs to be shipped to the State laboratory for testing a Rabies Examination Form 51 will be filled out and sent along with the animal head.


HEAD TESTING

Animals should be killed by lethal injection, gas or other means that do not damage the brain. Do not shoot any animal in the head.  The best shot to preserve head tissue for testing is to shoot the animal in the heart.  If the animal can be trapped it should be held in captivity until an evaluation is made by the EH as to its disposition.  If the animal needs to be euthanized it shall be performed by a veterinarian. A veterinarian will also remove the head. Shipping/packing of the head shall be per Oregon State Public Health Laboratory guidelines (503-229-5882).  All specimens need to be kept under refrigeration- DO NOT FREEZE.

Dogs, cats, and ferrets are the only animals that have rabies vaccination approval.  All other animals, including wolf hybrids are not considered to be protected if they have received rabies vaccine and a determination by the health official will be made to determine if the animal will be sacrificed for testing. 

Any bat that is collected is to be kept whole.

The cost of having any animal destroyed and any veterinarian expense will be born by the owner of the animal.  If the owner of the animal is unknown the County shall assume the cost.

The cost of packaging and shipping the animal head to the laboratory will be born by the animals owner or the County if no owner is found.  The cost of the brain tissue analysis for rabies will be born by the State if the testing is requested by the health official.  Costs for animals to be tested at the owners request will be borne by the animals owner.


WOUND TREATMENT

All bite wounds should be thoroughly and immediately washed with soap, water and copious flushing. Betadine or similar disinfectants can be applied. If possible, the wound should be left open to heal. Animal bite wounds often become infected (especially cat bites), and may require antibiotic therapy. A doctors visit should be advised if sutures are needed or if signs of infection.
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