Ask the Vet
Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Back to results
Enter Your Information All fields are required

While efforts are made to answer all questions as quickly as possible, if an immediate answer is required or if your pet is in need of urgent or emergency care, contact your pet's veterinarian immediately.

*Please note: Questions submitted and the answers will appear on our website as a benefit to all pet owners. Please make sure not to include any personal information in the box where you enter your question.

Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Thank you! Your question has been submitted.

You will receive an answer from Dr. Dym and our vet/tech team as soon as possible, usually the same day.

All answers are provided for informational or educational purposes only, and are intended to be a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise and professional judgment of your pet's veterinarian.

It may be necessary to consult your pet's veterinarian regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your pet's symptoms or medical condition.

Close
Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Oops! Your question has not been submitted.

An error has occurred, please reload the page and try again.

Close
Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Got questions? Ask Dr. Dym & our Vet Team:

While efforts are made to answer all questions as quickly as possible, if an immediate answer is required or if your pet is in need of urgent or emergency care, contact your pet's veterinarian immediately.

Do these answer your question?
Showing of | See All
Have another question, or can’t find your answer?
Submit your question
We're Sorry!

There is no answer related to your question

Can’t find your answer?
Submit your question
Category
Back

What To Do If Your Pet Is Bitten By A Wild Animal

Does your pet try to make friends with everyone -- even wild creatures? Or do they chase everything that moves without realizing their prey might bite them back? While our pets do not always understand the dangers of interacting with wildlife, you can keep them safe by learning what to do after an encounter.

Is My Pet At Risk For Rabies After A Bite?
Each year, about 60 dogs and over 250 cats are reported to the CDC as rabies cases. Thankfully, the fatal disease is uncommon in pets because most states require domestic animals to be vaccinated.
There are many wild animals your pet can contract rabies from. The virus can also affect just about any mammal, including horses, sheep, and ferrets. Non-mammals like reptiles do not get rabies. Rabies is extremely rare in opossums because of their low body temperature. Squirrels, mice, and other small mammals almost never contract the virus.
While not all infected animals show obvious symptoms, chances are the animal is rabid if you notice signs such as drooling, staggering, unusual behavior, paralysis, sensitivity to light, or seizures. Conversely, a rabid animal can seem uncharacteristically friendly and tame.
A pet that has been properly vaccinated and is up-to-date on their booster shots is very unlikely to contract rabies. Your pet should have had their first rabies shot at about four months of age, a booster at one year and four months, and should receive a booster every three years after that.
If your pet is behind on their vaccines and you suspect they have been exposed to rabies, a booster will be required. They may be required to quarantine, either with you or with the veterinarian. While unlikely, if your pet does develop symptoms, they will have to be euthanized. Rabies is almost always fatal after symptoms develop.

Other Concerns After Your Pet Is Bitten By A Wild Animal
Just because your pet is vaccinated or is unlikely to have been exposed to rabies, it does not mean that they do not need medical care after a bite.
It’s best to get to your regular veterinarian or after-hours emergency vet clinic as soon as you can. If there will be a wait, you can use an antiseptic wound dressing that’s safe for pets, such as NFZ Wound Dressing, and wrap the area with gauze to stop the bleeding.
Any wild animal can transmit disease through bites and scratches. Even a small bite or scratch can become dangerously infected.

Keeping Your Pets Safe From Wild Animals
Your pet’s first line of defense against wild animals is your home. Keep pets inside when they can’t be supervised. Put up a physical fence around your property to help keep critters out. Wild animals can carry mange, a skin disease caused by mites. Canine distemper affects foxes, raccoons, and skunks. The majority of diseases contracted by wild animals are preventable by keeping your pet up-to-date on their vaccines and parasite preventatives and by seeing the vet annually for wellness check-ups.