What is rabies

Rabies is caused by a virus found in the saliva of infected mammals.

Rabies can infect any mammal, including humans, pets, wildlife and livestock. Birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish do not get rabies.

Rabies is spread through:

  • bites that break the skin
  • getting infected saliva in an open cut, sore or other wound
  • getting infected saliva in the mouth, nose or eyes
  • direct contact with infected brain or nervous system tissue through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth

Rabies can not be transmitted through contact with the blood, urine or feces of an infected animal.

If you’re exposed to rabies, you need to get treatment right away. Once symptoms begin, the rabies virus is almost always fatal.

In Ontario, the animals that spread rabies most often are bats, foxes, skunks and raccoons.

Wildlife Health Information Line

Call 1-888-574-6656 (monitored during business hours) for more information about:

  • sick or strange-acting wildlife
  • rabies in Ontario
  • the rabies oral vaccine bait
  • how to report a suspected rabid animal
  • what we are doing to control terrestrial rabies

Wildlife rabies outbreak and control operations

Learn about wildlife rabies outbreaks, how we control outbreaks and where rabies control operations will take place in 2024.

Report a suspected rabies case

Find out how to report a suspected case of rabies in Ontario.

Rabies in wildlife

Information about rabies in wildlife and what to do if you think an animal has rabies.

Rabies in pets

How pets get rabies, what do to if your pet is exposed and what you need to know about the rabies vaccine and travelling to the United States with your pet.

Rabies in humans

How people can contract the rabies virus, what to do if you’re exposed to the virus and what you should know about the rabies vaccine.

Information for veterinarians

How veterinarians can report rabies exposures, what to do if an animal is exposed to rabies and how to submit samples for testing.

Rabies in livestock

How livestock can get rabies, how to protect them from it and what to do if an animal is exposed to or suspected of having rabies.

Rabies cases

Find yearly summaries and maps of confirmed cases of rabies in Ontario.


confirmed cases of raccoon strain rabies in 2023


vaccine baits distributed in 2023


surveillance samples tested in 2023