Management of Animals After Animal-Human Bite Incident

VTH Policy # Rabies 10104

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 humans must be reported. Unprovoked bite incidents will be investigated by the 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 bite is considered to represent a high risk for rabies exposure to the bitten individual, Champaign County Public Health District must be notified in addition to Champaign County Animal Control.

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 – Human Bite Incident 

Incident Occurred at VTH or Associated Service

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

Incident Occurred Outside VTH or Associated Service

  1. Complete the Champaign County Animal Bite/Scratch form and FAX to Champaign County Animal Control, or to the animal control agency of the county in which the bite occurred and provide the completed form to the VTH office. 
  2. Advise the owner of the animal that Champaign County Animal Control, or other county animal control agency, will be notified of the bite incident and will likely contact the owner regarding steps to be taken.

Regulatory Actions

Animal Control will provide instructions for post-incident administrative actions to be taken, including orders for quarantine, vaccination of animal involved in the incident, and euthanasia recommendations.Animal Control should be contacted for consultation or questions.

Post-Incident Recommendations: 

  1. Owned animals that bite a human 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, stray animals or animals with neurologic signs that bite a human in an unprovoked manner will be euthanized and submitted for rabies testing. 
    c. Animals that develop signs during the quarantine period consistent with rabies (seizures, paralysis) should be euthanized and submitted for testing 
    d. Animals that die or are euthanized within 10 days of biting a human must be submitted for rabies testing.

  2. Free-Living wildlife carnivores that bite a human, whether provoked or unprovoked, will be euthanized and submitted for rabies testing regardless of the presence of clinical signs associated with rabies. 
    a. Other wildlife mammals shall be euthanized and submitted for rabies testing 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, human, animal, 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 ID124387
OwnerJenny C.GroupUofI College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital
Created2023-02-27 13:39 CDTUpdated2023-02-27 14:00 CDT
SitesUniversity of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital
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