Language Translation
  Close Menu

Animal Bites

What To Do If an Animal Bites You

If an animal bites you, there are a few simple steps you can take:

  • Wash the wound with lots of soap and running water.
  • Go to a physician or emergency room immediately if the bite is severe or bleeding.
  • In any case, notify your physician that an animal bit you.
  • Make sure that you are up to date on your tetanus vaccination.
  • Take antibiotics if your physician prescribes them.
  • If possible and without causing further injury, try to identify or capture the biting animal.
  • Notify your county health department or animal control agency.

The biting animal might need to be observed or tested to make sure that you were not exposed to rabies. If the biting animal is a dog, cat, or ferret, it can be observed for 10 days after the bite. If it is not ill after that time, you were not exposed to rabies. Alternatively, dogs, cats, and ferrets can be euthanized and tested immediately. High-risk wild animals should be killed and tested immediately. For other exposures, consult your local health department. Testing for rabies in Indiana is only done at the Indiana State Department of Health Disease Control Laboratory.

Animal Bite Reports

Animal Bite Reports should be filled out and submitted by your attending physician to either Porter County Animal Control, which can be reached by phone at 219-477-3110, or by fax at 219-465-0721; or Porter County Health Department, Nursing Division which can be reached by phone at 219-465-3525, or by fax at 219-465-3531.

Rabies Lab Submission

Some animals may be submitted to the Indiana State Department of Health Rabies Laboratory for rabies examination. These animals are limited to domestic animals that fail a veterinarian's exam during quarantine and some wild animals (mainly bats).

Rabies Lab Submissions will be handled by the Porter County Health Department, Environmental Division.