Rabies: Your Pets and You

What is rabies?

Rabies is a contagious disease that affects the nervous system in warm-blooded animals, including humans. In most cases the main carriers of rabies are foxes, skunks, raccoons and bats. The rabies virus is transmitted by saliva from an infected animal's bite, scratch or lick. Some signs of rabid animals may include loss of fear, restless and aggressive behaviour and depression.

Provincial legislation

Ontario legislation, Health Protection and Promotion Act, Regulation 567, requires that all dogs and cats be vaccinated against rabies. 

Keeping your pets safe

Although there is no cure for rabies there are prevention measures that you can take. Do your part by keeping your pets safe at home, reporting stray or sick animals to authorities, and making sure that your pet vaccinations are up-to-date.

What to do if you are bitten

If any animal bites you, follow these steps:

  • wash the bite with soap and water for at least five minutes
  • apply an antiseptic
  • call your doctor
  • contact Toronto Public Health

Other immunizations and vaccines

Toronto Animal Services provides only the Rabies vaccines, however suggests that pet owners speak to their veterinarians for information about other useful immunizations and vaccinations.

More information

Learn more about Rabies on this Fact Sheet and in the Rabies and Animal Bites/Exposures article. You can also learn more on other government websites. 

For more information about rabies visit:


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