Signs and symptoms of rabies in animals can include:

  • Dumb rabies: lethargy (inactive or under-active), self-isolation, paralysis in the hind limbs that spreads to the rest of the body, excessive drooling (frothing), drooping head, sagging jaw.
  • Furious rabies: extreme excitement, aggression, gnawing at its own limbs or body, attacking objects or other animals for no obvious reason.
  • Rabies in bats: Rabid bats commonly lose their ability to fly or fly well. Other signs that bats may be rabid include: wandering around in the daylight; crawling on the ground; or otherwise acting strangely.

The number of wildlife rabies cases in Ontario has decreased by more than 99 per cent since provincial and local rabies control programs began. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources publishes current rabies cases in animals, along with their surveillance map.

  • Ontario was declared to be free of raccoon rabies strain from 2005 to 2014.
  • In 2015, many raccoons and skunks in Hamilton, Haldimand County and Niagara were confirmed to been infected with rabies. However, the number of rabies positive animals in this area has been decreasing since 2017.
  • The most recent land-based wildlife with rabies in Toronto was in 1997.
  • In 2008, a puppy with rabies was imported from rural Ontario to Toronto.
  • In 2021, a dog with rabies was imported into Ontario from a country considered to be high risk for rabies in animal populations. The animal was in Toronto for two days.
  • In 2022, a dog with rabies was found in Toronto. It was imported about half a year earlier (in 2021) from a country considered to be high risk for rabies in animal populations.
  • Bats are common carriers of the rabies virus. Although the prevalence of rabies in wild bats in Ontario is generally unknown, approximately five per cent of all bats that are submitted for testing test positive for rabies. In the overall bat population, this percentage would be much lower.

The risk of rabies varies globally. In countries where rabies deaths occur in humans (especially Asia and Africa), more than 99 per cent of cases are caused by bites from dogs.

Your risk of being exposed to rabies while travelling to another country depends on several factors such as: your destination, the length of your trip, where you stay, your activities and your access to medical care. Treatment to prevent rabies is available worldwide, but it is often difficult to obtain.

If you are planning to travel:

There are a number of agencies that can provide further assistance with animals:

Toronto Animal Services

Contact Toronto Animal Services (416-338-PAWS) regarding stray or domestic animals:

  1. If there has been a bite or scratch to a person or other animals OR
  2. If there has not been a bite or scratch to a person or other animals, but the animal is a nuisance or requires assistance.

If a wild animal is not exhibiting signs of rabies, if possible allow it to leave the area on its own. Remove anything which may be attracting wildlife to your property, such as garbage, and block off possible denning areas such as under steps, porches, etc

Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (NDMNRF)


Contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (1-888-574-6656) for general information on rabies and rabies control in wildlife.  If you see an animal that is showing signs of rabies, this can be reported to the NDMNRF through their rabies information line (188-574-6656) but NDMNRF does NOT assist with the capture and control of such animals. If the animal is in distress or causing damage to your property, call 311 or Toronto Animal Services for assistance.

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)

Contact the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 if a bite or scratch occurs between a suspect animal and livestock or a suspect animal and any other domestic animal (e.g. pet), contact your local veterinarian for an initial risk assessment.  If there is significant risk, or additional assistance is required, your veterinarian can contact OMAFRA for advice.

The Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians

The Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians (OAVT) Rabies Response Program (RRP) works towards educating the public about rabies and the importance of prevention through their “Rabies-My Pet’s Protected Campaign.” To learn more about rabies and how it can affect your family, or to find a rabies vaccine clinic near you visit 

The OAVT RRP also works directly with all of Ontario’s 36 Public Health Units to arrange and complete the collection and shipment of rabies specimens who have had human contact. Registered Veterinary Technicians (RVTs) are trained and contracted to perform this task.