Director: David Fiess, MPA Phone: (260) 449-7459 FAX: (260) 449-7460 Email:
Location: 2242 Carroll Rd, Fort Wayne, IN 46818 Hours: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday
Meet the Staff: Josh Blauvelt, BS, CHHS, Asst. Director; Tom McCue, BS, Env. Health Specialist II; Francis Koch, Env.Technician; Trina Riecke, Lead Case Manager; Cindy Wable, Lead Case Coordinator/Env. Technician; Pat De Haven, Secretary Seasonal Mosquito Technicians

Animal Bites & Rabies


Allen County Sheriff's Department 260 449-7491
Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control 260 427-1244
New Haven Police Department 260 493-1517


If you have questions regarding rabies post-exposure treatment, contact the Department's Medical Annex at 260 449-7920.


Rabies is an infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals.  Each year over 7,000 animals, most of them wild, are diagnosed with the disease in the United States, except in Hawaii.

People get rabies from the bite of an infected animal (with rabies).  Any wild mammal, like a raccoon, skunk, fox, coyote or bat, can have rabies and transmit it to people.  In the United States, about 18,000 people receive post-exposure treatment each year because of contact with animals suspected of being rabid.  Rats, mice, squirrels and other small rodents are not able to transmit the rabies virus.

It is possible, but quite rare, for people to contract rabies from material of a rabid animal.  For example, infected saliva could enter the eyes, nose, mouth or an open wound.  Scratches are not considered an exposure, unless the animals were observed licking their claws before the scratches occurred.


Although it is not possible to determine if an animal is infected with rabies by simple observation, signs in an animal, which should lead you to suspect that it may be rabid, are:

  • Changes in an animal's behavior
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Problem swallowing
  • Increase in drool/saliva
  • Excessive irritability
  • Unusual vocalization
  • Wild animals that appear abnormally tame or sick
  • Tremors/convulsions
  • Unprovoked aggression
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty moving or paralysis
  • Death


If bitten by a domestic or wild animal, it is recommended you do the following:

  1. If exposed, immediately wash the site with soap and water.  Squeeze the area to make the wound bleed.  Hopefully, this will push out any of the animal's saliva.
  2. Contact the proper animal control agency and your personal doctor or the Department of Health for further advisement.
  3. Receive medical assistance.


  • Loss of consciousness
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Hypersalivation (foaming at the mouth)
  • Convulsions
  • Symptoms appear within 5 - 60 days, rarely 1 year after the bite
  • Once symptoms appear, death usually follows


  1. A rabid raccoon bites a dog.
  2. Rabies virus enters the dog through infected saliva.
  3. Rabies virus spreads through the nerves to the spinal cord and brain.
  4. The virus incubates in the dog's body about 3 - 12 weeks.  The dog has no signs of illness during this time.
  5. When it reaches the brain, the virus multiplies rapidly, passes to the salivary glands, and the dog begins to show signs of disease.
  6. Infected animals usually die within 7 days of becoming sick.


The best method to prevent rabies transmission to you or your family is to vaccinate your pets.  Dogs, cats, and ferrets need to be vaccinated for rabies to provide a barrier between you and the infected animal.  The following are other prevention methods:

  • Put identification and rabies tags on your pets.  If in Fort Wayne, you must have a permit for the animal.
  • Keep trash in metal or hard plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.
  • Stay away from stray domestic and wild animals, especially those that are acting strangely.
  • Walk your dog with a leash.  Do not let your dog or cat run loose.
  • Do not leave pet food outside between meal times.
  • If a bat is inside your house and there are no known exposures, open windows/doors to let it escape.  If there is a known exposure or you do not know, then attempt to capture it with heavy gloves on, a coffee can and a piece of cardboard.  If you feel you cannot capture it, then contact the appropriate animal control agency.  Do not kill the bat because then it will not be able to be tested for rabies.
  • Make your house inaccessible to wild animals.
  • Wild animals should not be kept as pets.
  • Do not handle sick or injured animals.


If a bat is found in the same room as a sleeping child or elderly person, assume the bat bit the person.  It is difficult to detect a bat bite.  If there is a known exposure or you do not know, then attempt to capture it with heavy gloves on, a coffee can and a piece of cardboard.  If you feel you cannot capture it, then contact the appropriate animal control agency.  Do not kill the bat because then it will not be able to be tested for rabies.


If a wild animal is causing a nuisance around the house, there are three options the homeowner/tenant can do.

  • The animal can be left alone.  It may move on to another area.
  • Purchase a live-catch trap and place in the area where the animal is established.  After capturing the animal, take great care in picking up the trap and releasing the animal at a park or in the woods a few miles away.
  • Look in the yellow pages under Pest Control and contact a private wildlife control company to remove the animal.  There will be a charge for this.


The disposal of dead animals is governed by the Indiana Board of Animal Health.



Bookmark and Share

More Articles:   General Information FAQ Bed Bugs Built Environment Childhood Lead Poisoning Childhood Lead Screening Children's Environmental Health Protection Cockroaches Healthy Homes Indoor Air Quality Integrated Pest Management Lodging Establishments Meth Labs Mold Mosquitoes Mosquitoes - Biology Mosquitoes - Diseases Mosquitoes - Prevention & Control Pests & Other Vectors Radon Rats & Mice - Biology & Diseases Rats & Mice - Control Ticks Unsanitary Conditions Unwanted Refrigerators & Freezers

Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to see large image.
  • Trina Riecke, Lead Case Manager, conducts a developmental assessment of a lead-poisoned child.
  • Lucky the Lead Free Lemur is a mascot of the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.  He appears at health fairs and other events to promote lead prevention.
  • This engorged American Dog Tick was pulled off a human.  To prevent tick attachment, wear light-colored clothing, long pants with the bottoms placed into the top of socks, and apply a DEET-product to your clothing.  Check your clothing and body after exiting a high grass or wooded area.
  • De-rimmed tires breed mosquitoes and can provide drinking water for rats.  Culex species, ones that can carry WNv, and Ae. triseriatus, carrier of LaCrosse Encephalitis, use tires as a habitat when in the larval form.  The sun heats the black rubber allowing for increased mosquito production, even when it is cool out.  Tires should be properly disposed of or covered to prevent mosquito breeding.
  • A female Culex mosquito laying an egg raft, which can consist of 200-300 eggs.
  • A blood sample to be tested for lead is taken from a capillary in the tip of the finger.
  • Mold needs water to grow.  Remove the water source and there won't be a mold problem.
  • The American dog tick is the largest tick in Indiana and can carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
  • Children enjoy meeting Lucky the Lead Free Lemur.
  • Sticky traps are a great tool to catch cockroaches.
  • Trina Riecke educates a citizen about how to maintain a healthy and safe home.
  • Rats like to eat grease, as can be seen in the pan on the stove.
  • Educating the public on Vector-borne diseases is an on-going effort.
  • Ae. triseriatus, a carrier of LaCrosse Encephalitis, lays her eggs in treeholes and containers.
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Cockroach infestation in kitchen cabinet.
  • Mosquitofish can be placed into ornamental ponds to eat mosquito larvae.  The fish only get to be an inch in length.
  • Un-maintained swimming pools are perfect for breeding the mosquitoes that can carry West Nile virus.
  • Double whammy for mosquito breeding - uncovered boat with un-rimmed tire in it.
  • Notice the pop can the rats tried pulling into a burrow.
  • This rat ate poison bait stored in a secure station.
  • Bed bugs do not transmit diseases, but their bites can become infected if scratched too much.
  • Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Free radon test kits are available at the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health.
  • Ingredients taken from a meth lab that was found in a house.
Did You Know?

Long-term exposure to radon can lead to lung cancer. It is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States of America (EPA).

Free radon test kits are available through the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health while supplies last. Call 260 449-7561 to find out where in the community test kits are available.