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Changes to the Rabies Vaccination Requirement for Pets and Livestock

Timmins, Ontario - Monday, March 25, 2019 

The Porcupine Health Unit (PHU) is asking pet owners to ensure their pet’s rabies vaccinations are up to date. As of July 1, 2018, rabies vaccination has become mandatory in the Province of Ontario under the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA). These changes include the following: 

  • All dogs, cats and ferrets over the age of 3 months in Ontario must be vaccinated regularly against rabies. 
  • All horses, cattle, sheep or other livestock intended to come into direct contact with the general public must also be vaccinated. However, if these animals are only accessible to persons responsible for their care and control will remain exempt from the rabies immunization requirement.

Rabies vaccinations for your pets need to be updated every 1 to 3 years, depending on the vaccine product given. “Although those who do not vaccinate may be fined under this regulation, the PHU will work with animal owners to comply with this new regulation.” Contact your veterinarian for more information or to inquire if your pet’s vaccinations are up to date. 

Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous systems (brain and spinal cord) of mammals. Humans and other animals can become infected from a bite, or in some cases a scratch, of a rabid animal. 

To prevent rabies: 

  • Keep your pet’s rabies vaccination up-to-date. 
  • Avoid feeding or handling wild animals. 
  • Avoid strays and do not pet unknown animals. 
  • Supervise your pets. Don’t let them run free, especially at night. 
  • Do not leave your pet’s food outside, as this may attract other unwanted animals. 
  • Do not touch domestic or wild animals that look sick or are acting strangely even if you want to help them.

If you have been bitten by an animal: 

  • Wash the wound with soap and water and seek medical attention. A health care provider will do a risk assessment to determine if rabies vaccine is needed. 
  • Contact the Porcupine Health Unit. The health unit will investigate all reports of animal bites and scratches with most animals being quarantined for a 10 day period.
  • In any quarantine situation we remind the public that we don’t take their animals away from them during or after the quarantine period.
  • The PHU will continue to work with pet owners and local vets to protect the public and other animals from the spread of rabies. It is important animal owners work with the health unit to protect the public and other animals from the potential spread of the rabies virus. 

The Porcupine Health Unit is working with local veterinarians to help assist with these new changes to the regulation. If you have any questions or would like more information, contact the Duty Inspector at 705-267-1181 or 1-800-461-1818. 

The Porcupine Health Unit is located in Northeastern Ontario, serving the entire Cochrane District and Hornepayne, in Algoma District. The main office is located in Timmins, Ontario, with branch offices in Cochrane, Hearst, Hornepayne, Iroquois Falls, Kapuskasing, Matheson, Moosonee and Smooth Rock Falls.