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What to do if an animal bites you

The Hill County Health Department is dedicated to help people with health concerns of all types and this includes animal bites. My office receives about one animal bite report per week, of which most occur in the Havre area. Many of these bites come from dogs but can come from cats, bats or other wild animals.

There are certain procedures that I am asking people to remember any time an animal bites a person. They are very important, and they will hopefully save a lot of financial costs and unnecessary stress and help the person who was bitten to stay in the best possible health.

If you are bitten by anything, you must keep that animal in an area where it cannot get away. If it is a dog or cat, try to get in a fenced yard or follow it to the owner’s house if possible. In order to make sure the animal is not sick with rabies or something else, it must be isolated, quarantined, or sent to the state lab for testing. If it is a wild animal like a bat, you must not allow it to escape. It must be captured and sent to the state lab for analysis.

If any of these animals escape or cannot be found, the person who has been bitten is advised to start the shot procedure for rabies. This is very expensive and unnecessary if the animal can just be located and held in quarantine or sent in for testing.

Our normal reaction to an animal bite is to run away, but in reality we need to get to a safe area like in a fenced area, or car and then call the police department or sheriff, and have them come get the animal or talk to the owner about the current shots.

By following these procedures, you can save yourself and law enforcement a lot of time and money in getting an animal bite resolved.

My office will always be open to answering questions or helping to resolve animal bite problems. Call the Hill County Health Department at 256-5481, ext. 266.


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