North Central District Health Department

Rabies Information

Improved rabies vaccination programs for pets and better treatment for people who have been bitten have dramatically reduced the number of human rabies cases in this country. The majority of recent human cases acquired in the U.S. have resulted from exposure to bats. To prevent the spread of rabies to humans, keep your pet's vaccinations current and avoid contact with wild animals. Here are a few of the laws regarding rabies in Kentucky.

**NOTE: Dogs are still a significant source of rabies in other countries and our own. Be aware of this risk when traveling outside of the United States and at home. What you can do to help control rabies Have your veterinarian vaccinate your cats, dogs, ferrets and selected livestock. Keep the vaccinations up to date. Your vet will advise you on the recommended or required frequency of rabies. (Dogs and Cats around 3 Years) Reduce the possibility of rabies exposure by keeping your animals on your property. Don't let your pet roam free. Don't leave garbage or pet food outside, because it may attract wild or stray animals. If your animal has been in a fight or suspected fight with cuts and bit marks contact your vet for information. Wild animals should not be kept as pets. They are a potential rabies threat to their owners and to others. Observe all wild animals from a distance, even if they do appear friendly. A rabid animal may act tame. Don't go near it. If you see a wild animal acting strangely, report it to our department. Most cases of rabies occur in wild animals, mainly skunks, raccoons, bats, and foxes.

If you have been bitten:

  • Don't panic, but don't ignore the bite.
  • Wash the wound thoroughly and vigorously with soap and lots of water.
  • If possible, capture the animal under a large box or at least try to identify it before it runs away. Don't try to pick the animal up. If the animal cannot be caught and it must be killed to prevent its escape, don't damage the head. The brain will be needed to test for rabies.
  • Depending on the severity of the bite, immediately contact your physician and then our department. A warden will come get the animal if you have been able to capture the biter.
  • All animal bites are required to be reported to the local health department within 12 hours, unless the health department is closed; if closed, the bite should be reported on the next working day.

Henry County 502-845-7995

Shelby County 502-633-9377

Spencer County 502-477-2890 

Trimble County 502-255-4851.

The following animals are NOT CONSIDERED LIKELY TO CARRY RABIES:

Chipmunk, Gopher, Hamster, Mouse, Prairie Dog, Rat, Squirrel, Gerbil, Guinea Pig, Mole, Muskrat, Rabbit, Shrew, Vole, Note: woodchucks are tested.