Raccoon strain rabies is circulating in Hamilton

Raccoon strain rabies is circulating in our raccoon & skunk populations.  The overall risk remains low to the general public but there are measures you can take to minimize your risk.

Positive tests in City of Hamilton break down by species and year

The number of animals that have tested positive for raccoon rabies virus each year in the City of Hamilton found throughout all media areas.

Year Raccoon Skunk Fox Cat TOTAL
2018 14 4 0 0 18
2017 48 23 0 1 73
2016 123 72 1 1 199
2015 9 0 0 0 11
TOTAL 194 99 1 2 301


Signs of rabies in animals include:

  • Friendly or tame animals that are usually wild
  • Hiding in isolated areas and depression
  • Loss of fear of humans, especially skunks (for ex., they do not run away when approached by humans or domestic animals)
  • Paralysis - abnormal facial expressions, drooping heads, sagging jaws or paralyzed hind legs
  • Extreme excitement and aggression
  • Gnawing and biting their own legs
  • Attacking objects or other animals
  • Frothing at the mouth

What to do with sick, injured or orphaned wildlife

  • Stay back from the animal.
  • Look for signs of an injury such as blood, loss of fur or feathers or trouble breathing.
  • Leave it in its natural habitat.
  • Watch the animal to see if it will get up and leave on its own. Some animals “play dead” to defend themselves against other animals.
  • Contact Animal Services at 905-574-3433 to report injured or dead wild animals.
  • Contact Public Health Services at 905-546-3570 if you think there is a health risk from the animal.

Protect your pet

  • Vaccinate your pet.  The Hamilton SPCA offers Rabies Clinics: http://hbspca.com/services/microchip-clinics/
    • Upcoming Rabies Clinics:
      • Monday July 9th, 2018 | 3 – 6 pm | at HBSPCA – 245 Dartnall Rd |No appointment necessary.
      • Monday Aug 27th, 2018 | 3-6pm | at HBSPCA – 245 Dartnall Rd |No appointment necessary.
  • Don’t allow your pet to wander freely unsupervised, especially at night when bats, foxes, raccoons and skunks are most active, as these animals are the primary carriers of rabies in Canada.

For more information, please visit: http://www.hamilton.ca/animals-pets