Health officials are reminding the public to be cautious around animals as recent reports of bite incidents have been flooding into facilities across the southwest.

SHA medical health officer Dr. David Torr said about 50 per cent of the reports of recent have been involving domestic animals.

“We are getting a lot of animal bite reports,” he said. “We've had unfortunate incidents where we have to refer kids for plastic surgery because they've been bitten in the face.”

Animal owners are reminded to keep their pets on a leash when taking them out in public, never leave them unattended with children, and to communicate with guests or visitors about boundaries.

When seeing a cat or dog that isn’t their own, residents are advised to give it space and use caution, as unknown animals can be unpredictable.

The same advice applies to interactions with wildlife.

“All animal bites have the potential of causing bacterial infections, including tetanus,” added Dr. Torr. “It’s really important if one ever gets animal bites, to seek medical attention because you may need a booster of your tetanus shot, you may need antibiotics.

“And there are animals, especially wild animals in this province, that do carry rabies. We have bats, skunks, coyotes, even raccoons. One has to be very cautious with any kind of bite from any animal and seek medical attention.”