Management of Animals After Animal-Animal Bite Incident

VTH Policy # Rabies10103

Implementation Date: 11/01/2022

Date of Last Revision: 11/29/2022

Next Review Due: 11/28/2025


Reviewed by VTH Administrative Team: 11/1/2022

Reviewed and Approved by VTH Board / Hospital Director: 9/9/2022


Reviewed by Legal Counsel: N/A

Reviewed by Biosecurity Subcommittee: 9/28/2022

Subject to modification by the Biosecurity Subcommittee of the CVM Environmental Health and Safety Committee without approval.


Bite incidents involving animals biting another animal must be reported. Unprovoked bite incidents will be investigated by the county animal control agency in which the bite occurred. Risk assessment for rabies exposure and post-incident regulatory actions will consider the nature of the incident and the animal involved.


Illinois State law and Champaign County ordinances will be observed by the VTH when handling bite incidences and suspected rabies cases.

Bites that occur in the VTH will be reported to Champaign County Animal Control.

Bites that have occurred outside of the VTH will be reported to the Animal Control agency of the county in which the bite occurred. A list of local animal control facilities by county is available online at:

Please see spreadsheet database for contact information for other counties.
Animal Control Directory Database

If the location of the bite occurrence is not known, or if the county agency cannot be contacted, Champaign County Animal Control should be contacted.
Contact Information:

Champaign County Animal Control
(217)384-3798, M-F 8am-5pm
(217)333-8911, after hours
(217)384-1238 FAX

Champaign-Urbana Public Health District
(217)531-3386, after hours

All communication regarding a bite incident must be documented in the patient’s medical record.

Procedure (if applicable)

Animal – Animal Bite Incident 

Incident Occurred at VTH 

  1. Provide medical attention for the injured animal(s) as appropriate.
  2. Confine or restrain the aggressor animal, minimizing handling if possible.
  3. The senior clinician of record will notify owner(s) of animals involved in the incident that the incident has occurred.
    a. The vaccination history of each animal must be determined and updated and/or recorded in the animal’s medical record. 
    b. The owner(s) shall be advised that Champaign County Animal Control will be notified and will determine what measures will be taken regarding management of animals based on species, vaccination status, and ownership status
  4. Complete all required forms to document the incident (Champaign County Animal Bite/Scratch form and the VTH online Incident Report form). 
  5. FAX the County of Champaign Animal Bite/Scratch form to Champaign County Animal Control and provide completed form to the VTH office.
  6. Consult with Champaign County Animal Control regarding regulatory actions to be taken on behalf of animals involved in incident (E.g., vaccination booster, quarantine, etc.). See Regulatory Actions section below.
  7. Document all communications in patient(s) medical record.

Incident Occurred Outside VTH or Associated Service

  1. Provide medical attention for the injured animal as appropriate.
  2. Complete the Champaign County Animal Bite/Scratch form and FAX to Champaign County Animal Control and provide the completed form to the VTH office. For bites occurring outside of Champaign County, reporting must be directed to the animal control agency of the county in which the bite occurred. 

Regulatory Actions

Animal Control will provide instructions for post-incident regulatory actions to be taken, including orders for quarantine, vaccination of animals involved in the incident, and euthanasia recommendations.

Animal Control should be contacted for consultation or questions.

Post-Incident Recommendations: 

  1. Owned animals that bite another animal in an unprovoked manner will be monitored for signs of rabies. 
    a. In most cases, otherwise healthy animals involved in an unprovoked bite will be confined and observed after the incident. The location and duration of this quarantine is dictated by the animal control agency from the county in which the incident occurred.
    b. In most cases, any stray animal or animal with neurologic signs that bites another animal in an unprovoked manner will be euthanized and submitted for rabies testing. 
    c. Animals that develop signs during the quarantine period consistent with rabies (ex: seizures,paralysis) should be euthanized and submitted for testing 

  2. Owned animals bitten by another animal should be (re)vaccinated with an approved rabies vaccine immediately unless the biting animal is known to be vaccinated against rabies.
  3. Free-Living wildlife carnivores that bite another animal in an unprovoked manner will be euthanized and submitted for rabies testing regardless of the presence of clinical signs associated with rabies.
    a. Other free living wildlife mammals shall be euthanized and submitted for rabies testing only if clinical signs consistent with rabies are present. 

Definitions (if applicable)

Rabies Exposure (bite) – Potential rabies exposure occurring when an animal or person is seized by the teeth or jaws of a suspect rabies infected animal so that the person or animal seized has been nipped, gripped, wounded or pierced. 

Exposure (non-bite) – Saliva, salivary tissue or neurological tissue from a rabies suspect is in contact with open wounds or mucous membranes through aerosolization or direct contact. 

Free-Living Wildlife – A native animal living in its natural, undomesticated state. 

Owned Animal – An animal that is legally maintained in captivity by an owner.

Rabies – A fatal viral zoonosis and a serious public health threat. All mammals are believed to be susceptible to the disease. Rabies is rare in properly vaccinated animals. Usually transmitted through bites from animal to animal or from animal to human, rabies can be shed in the saliva of infected animals for days prior to onset of clinical signs and associated illness.

Rabies Suspect – An animal (generally mammalian) that is showing signs consistent with rabies infection, an animal that has had known exposure to a confirmed rabies positive animal, or an unvaccinated mammal that presents a high risk of rabies transmission and that has exposed another animal or person through a bite or other form of exposure.

Stray – Any animal that is lost, abandoned, unclaimed by any person, or wandering at large. 

Unvaccinated - Owned animals that have not been vaccinated against rabies or for which the rabies vaccine is considered off-label use are considered unvaccinated. All stray and free-living wild animals are considered unvaccinated.

Vaccinated - A domestic animal is considered vaccinated against rabies 30 days after receiving the initial vaccine. A previously vaccinated animal with an expired booster vaccination status is considered vaccinated immediately after being administered a booster vaccine.

Wildlife Carnivore –Wild carnivores are considered rabies vector species. These include bats, skunks, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, wolves, cougar, bear, weasels, mink, etc.

Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH): The collective clinical services of the Large Animal Clinic, Midwest Equine, the Small Animal Clinic, and the Veterinary Medicine South Clinic.

Keywordsrabies, bite, scratch, injury, sustain, pierce, skin, broke, seized, wound, nip, grip, cut, risk, species, mucous membrane, personnel, staff, public, student, form, exposure, vaccine, vaccinated, test, suspect, vaccination, report, expose, supervisor, animal control, county, champaign, status, management, veterinarian, agency, clinician, owned, Unowned, expired, prove, proof, assessment   Doc ID124386
OwnerJenny C.GroupUofI College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital
Created2023-02-27 13:36 CDTUpdated2023-02-27 14:24 CDT
SitesUniversity of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital
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