To help protect people and pets from rabies, Ontario law (Regulation 567, Rabies Immunization) requires animal owners to vaccinate specific animals against rabies. The Toronto Animal Services’ Chip Truck is a mobile license and microchip clinic that also occasionally offers low cost rabies vaccination.
The following pets (over the age of three months) are required to be vaccinated against rabies:
- Ferrets (as of July 1st, 2018)
As of July 1st, 2018, the following additional animals that come into contact with the public are required to be vaccinated against rabies:
- Any other livestock where a rabies vaccine (licensed for use in Canada) is available (consult your veterinarian)
Animal owners are also required, by law, to keep a copy of their animals’ vaccine certificate, issued by a veterinarian, at all times.
Safe Interactions with Animals
To protect people from rabies:
- Always supervise your pet dogs. They should not run loose in public spaces, unless in off-leash parks.
- Remember that every animal is capable of unpredictable behaviour.
- Ask the animal / pet owner if you can pet their animal.
- Interact with pets, including dogs, safely. Teach children how to safely interact with pets. The following tips, available on the World Health Organization’s website, are important for interactions with dogs or other pets:
- Don’t bother or frighten animals when they are eating or tied up
- Keep away from animals when they look angry or scared
- Don’t move if approached by a dog if not on a lead
- Approach dogs and other animals slowly and quietly
To protect people and pets from rabies:
- Stay away from all wild animals, whether they appear tame, injured, or sick.
- Keep pets away from wild animals and do not let pets roam unsupervised.
- Do not feed wild animals (e.g. raccoons, squirrels) or keep wild animals as pets.
- Wildlife-proof your home and yard. Store garbage bins inside a garage / basement until the morning of pick-up.
- Contact appropriate agencies if you come into contact with wild animals or stray / domestic pets.
- “Bat-proof” your home:
- Examine your home for holes that may allow bats entry.
- Caulk any openings or holes that may allow bats entry into your home.
- Install window screens, chimney caps, and/or draft-guards under doors to attics.
- Fill electrical and plumbing holes with steel wool or caulking.
- Make sure all exterior doors close tightly.
For more information on wildlife in Toronto, visit Toronto Animal Services – Wildlife in the City
People at Higher Risk for Rabies
Pre-exposure prophylaxis is recommended for people at high risk of close contact with rabid animals or the rabies virus, including:
- People who work closely with animals, such as veterinarians and veterinary staff, animal control, and wildlife workers
- Laboratory workers handling the rabies virus
- Hunters and trappers in areas with confirmed rabies
- People who explore caves (spelunkers)
- Certain travelers to countries or areas at risk. Contact a travel medicine clinic for consultation.
Rabies pre-exposure prophylaxis consists of a series of vaccinations that can help protect people before they may be exposed to rabies from the bite or scratch from an animal.