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Keeping Galion City a Health Hazard-Free Community

Animal Bites

Protecting you, your family, and your pets from rabies.

Our rabies prevention program receives reports of animal bites and ensures that owned animals are quarantined, have a veterinary evaluation at the end of the quarantine period, and have current vaccination against rabies.

We can also assist with referral to initiate rabies prophylaxis for the bite victim and rabies testing of the animal after an animal bite occurs if necessary.

For more information or educational materials, call (419) 468-1075 x1265.

Reporting an animal bite

Complete an Animal Bite Report.

You may submit the report any of the following ways:

  • Complete and hit submit form in the upper right-hand corner.
  • Complete, print, and hand deliver to our office.
  • Complete, print, and fax to (419) 468-8618.
What is rabies?
  • Rabies is a viral disease that causes encephalitis, which is inflammation (swelling) of the brain. The early symptoms of rabies in people are similar to that of many other illnesses, including fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort.
  • As the disease progresses, more specific symptoms appear and may include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, increase in saliva and difficulty swallowing (leading to the appearance of “foaming at the mouth”), and fear of water.
  • Death usually occurs within days of the onset of these symptoms. Because rabies is a very serious illness, our health department takes all precautions to prevent it.
How is rabies transmitted?

The most common mode of rabies virus transmission is through the bite of an infected animal. The rabies virus is transmitted through saliva and brain/nervous system tissue. If contact with either of these has occurred, the type of exposure should be evaluated to determine if treatment is necessary.

Contact such as petting or handling an animal or contact with blood, urine, or feces does not constitute an exposure. No treatment is needed in these situations. Rabies is transmitted only when the virus is introduced into a bite wound, open cuts in the skin, or onto mucous membranes such as the mouth or eyes.

When an exposure has occurred, the likelihood of rabies infection varies with the type of exposure.


There are two categories of exposure, bite, and non-bite.

  • Bite: Any penetration of the skin by teeth constitutes a bite exposure. All bites, regardless of body site, represent a potential risk of rabies transmission, but that risk varies with the species of biting an animal, the site of the bite, and the severity of the wound. Bites by some animals such as bats may inflict only minor injury and thus be difficult to detect. 


  • Non-bite: The contamination of open wounds, abrasions, mucous membranes, or scratches with potentially infectious material from an animal constitutes a non-bite exposure. Nonbite exposures from land-dwelling animals rarely cause rabies. However, because rabies transmission has been known to occur from non-bite exposures, these exposures are evaluated to determine whether rabies vaccination should be given.
Should the animal be quarantined or tested?

A healthy domestic dog, cat, or ferret that bites a person should be quarantined (confined and observed) by its owner for 10 days. An animal that has rabies virus in its saliva will begin to show rabies symptoms within 10 days.

Any illness in an animal during the quarantine period or before release from quarantine should be evaluated by a veterinarian and reported to the health department as soon as possible.

If signs suggestive of rabies develop, the animal should be tested for rabies as soon as possible. A stray or unwanted animal: it should be quarantined for 10 days. 

Biting animals should be tested as soon as possible under the following circumstances:

  • A domestic animal develops signs suggestive of rabies during the quarantine period.
  • A stray or unwanted animal cannot be quarantined.
  • The animal is wild, including skunks, raccoons, foxes, and bats.
What kinds of animals carry rabies?

Any mammal can get rabies. Wild animals most commonly infected with rabies are raccoons, skunks, bats, foxes, and coyotes. Domestic mammals can also get rabies. Cats, cattle, and dogs are the most frequently reported rabid domestic animals in the United States.

When should I seek medical attention?

You should seek medical evaluation for any animal bite. Wash any wounds immediately as one of the most effective ways to decrease the chance for infection is to wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water. It’s important to remember that rabies is a medical urgency and decisions should not be delayed.

Rabies vaccination is recommended in most cases following a wild animal bite. Your doctor, possibly in consultation with your state or local health department, will decide if you need a rabies vaccination. If decided necessary, rabies vaccination should be given as soon as possible after the exposure.

Rabies Prevention

  • Visit your veterinarian with your pet on a regular basis and keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for all cats, ferrets, and dogs.
  • Maintain control of your pets by keeping cats and ferrets indoors and keeping dogs under direct supervision.
  • Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or vaccinated regularly.
  • Call animal control to remove stray animals from your neighborhood since these animals may be unvaccinated or ill.

Bed bugs

Providing education on bed bug prevention and eradication.

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are parasitic insects. Human blood is their preferred food, but they will also feed on rodents, bats, birds, and pets if humans aren’t available.

How do bed bugs grow and develop?

During its life cycle, a bed bug hatches from an egg into a nymph and molts (sheds its old skin) five times before becoming a full-sized adult, about the size of an apple seed. Eggs are glued onto a surface by the adult female bed bug. All nymph stages and adults require blood meals.

What do bed bugs look like?

Adult bed bugs are small, but visible to the naked eye. An adult bed bug is from 1/4 - 3/8 inches long and reddish brown. Bed bugs have an oval shape with a flattened body when unfed; their body becomes swollen after they have fed.

The young nymph (immature) that has just hatched from the egg is less than 1/10 inches long and nearly colorless, but it becomes red after taking a blood meal. There are five nymph stages, with each stage slightly larger than the preceding one. Nymphs typically are yellowish brown to reddish brown.

How do bed bugs move about?

Bed bugs cannot fly, but they can walk very fast. They are able to cling tightly to surfaces, and they can fit into very small cracks and crevices where they often hide during the day.

Where are bed bugs found?

Bed bugs can be found in places that are frequented or occupied by humans. Bed bugs are most commonly found in dwellings with a high rate of occupant turnovers, such as hotels, hostels, dormitories, apartment complexes, movie theaters, and the like.

Bed bugs also can infest private dwellings. Bed bugs can infest airplanes, ships, trains, and buses.

Where do bed bugs hide?

Bed bugs will hide in mattresses and box springs, bed frames, dressers, upholstered furniture and other furniture, cracks and crevices, electrical outlets, carpet tack strips, baseboards, window and door casings, drapery pleats, wall hangings, ceiling moldings, seams in wallpaper, etc.

Bed bugs prefer to contact fabric, wood, and paper surfaces—all of which are common in human dwellings.

What are the telltale signs of bed bugs?

The most obvious signs of bed bugs are small black spots (feces) deposited in and near bed bug hiding places. Shed bed bug skins, eggshells, and live bed bugs also may be found.

Another sign is bloodstains, which typically occur when a bed bug is squashed. Itchy red welts may be the result of bed bug bites, but other insects, arthropods, and medical conditions can produce similar reactions. It is important to confirm whether the bites were caused by bed bugs by conducting a bed bug inspection.

When do bed bugs feed?

Bed bugs typically bite at night. However, they also can feed during the daytime.

What do bed bug bites look like?

Bed bug bite reactions vary from person to person. Humans often exhibit a range of reactions to the bed bugs’ injected saliva. Some people exhibit no reaction whatsoever, and others experience a raised itchy red welt at the site of the bite.

Bed bug bite reactions often appear as two or more bites in a row. They often occur on exposed areas of the body, such as the face, neck, arms, and shoulders. Bed bug bites may resemble bite reactions caused by other insects and other medical conditions.

How do I treat bites?

Consult your physician. Anti-itching medications and antibiotic salves applied to the skin may be helpful.


How are bed bugs spread?

Bed bug nymphs and adults are adept crawlers. They hitchhike from place to place by tucking away in peoples’ clothing, shoes, backpacks, purses, briefcases, luggage, used furniture, mattresses, bedding, etc.

Eggs laid on these items also allow bed bugs to be spread from place to place. When there are multiple units in a building such as in hotels, dorms, and apartments, bed bugs can easily crawl to other units and spread beyond the site of the initial infestation.

How can I protect myself and my family from bed bugs?

Knowing what to look for can keep you from carrying bed bugs into your home. Be on the lookout for the telltale signs of bed bugs when traveling or buying used furniture, bedding, and other used items.

In a work setting where bed bug exposure is possible, follow the safety precautions prescribed for your workplace.



Apply nonchemical measures to combat a bed bug infestation.

  • Minimize clutter.
  • Launder all bedding, clothing, etc. in hot water (at least 120F) and dry on a hot setting for at least 15 minutes.
  • Encase mattresses and box springs in plastic covers that have a sealed zipper caulk or seal cracks and crevices.
  • Vacuum.

Use integrated pest management (IPM) approach of sanitation to combat a bed bug infestation. Chemical treatment requires a licensed pesticide control applicator who should:

  • Apply insecticides to targeted sites
  • Rotate insecticide
  • Use a variety of insecticides
  • Do not rent out an infested unit in a building in isolation.
  • Bed bugs move and spread quickly beyond the initial infestation site especially in hotels, dorms, and apartment buildings. Inspect and treat (if necessary) all units that share a common wall with the infested unit.

Information from the Central Ohio Bed Bugs Task Force.

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