What should you do if you think you’ve been exposed to rabies?

If you have been bitten or scratched by a stray or wild animal, or by a pet or farm animal that has been behaving oddly, follow these steps:

  1. Wash the wound with soap and water right away for at least ten minutes.
  2. Call your health care provider and local board of health as soon as you finish washing. They will help you decide if you need to be treated for rabies. It is important to follow their instructions exactly.
  3. Contact your local animal control officer at 508-790-6272 or 508-790-6274 to catch or find the animal that scratched or bit you. Your local board of health can tell you how to have it tested by the State Rabies Lab, if appropriate. If your pet has been bitten or scratched by an animal that you think may be rabid, put on gloves before touching your pet. Follow steps 1 through 3, but call your pet's veterinarian instead of your own doctor.

Show All Answers

1. What is rabies?
2. How is rabies spread?
3. What kinds of animals spread rabies?
4. How common is animal rabies in Massachusetts?
5. How can you tell if an animal is rabid?
6. What should you do if you think you’ve been exposed to rabies?
7. What is the treatment for people exposed to rabies?
8. How can you prevent rabies?
9. Where can you get more information?