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ANIMALS BITING ANIMALS
Bites to animals are not reportable events in most counties, but create much concern among animal owners when their pets may have been exposed to a rabies suspect, especially non-domestic animals. Because our pets have the closest contact with the human population, they serve as the potential reservoir of rabies infection for people. Only through vaccination of all dogs and cats do we minimize this risk. There are populations of unvaccinated dogs and cats that need to be dealt with in both human and animal bites. This section deals with animal-to-animal contact and the proper handling of these cases.
Included in the appendix and referred to in this section is the Compendium on Animal Rabies Control which is updated each year by the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians. It has been incorporated into Indiana law (345 IAC 1-5 sec 3) as the reference for vaccination and handling of animals in bite situations. This is to be updated each year with the most recent information regarding vaccination and animal disposition in various situations. Some events have to be handled on a case-by-case basis and consulting with the Board of Animal Health for a decision in these matters will be necessary.
Also included in this section are general guidelines for confinement in different situations. Each county or municipality may have its own guidelines and requirements which are incorporated into its animal control statute. These are provided for those local agencies who need some guidance as to what to do with an animal in one of those situations where it may have had contact with a positive animal or rabies suspect.
With good management of difficult situations and continuous emphasis on vaccination of all dogs and cats in Indiana, it is hoped that most of the animal to animal bites can have a satisfactory outcome for both owners and animals.