The Animal Anti-Cruelty League in Johannesburg urges the public to take all their dogs and cats over three months of age to their regular veterinarian or welfare hospital if a client, to get a Rabies vaccination if not received in the last year.
Following the recent rise in rabies cases and confirmed human rabies incidents in KwaZulu-Natal, caution must be exercised not only with pets who accompany their owners away on holidays or visit in these areas specifically but anywhere off their usual property.
Rabies, although a fatal disease can be prevented by vaccination. The disease affects the brain and is spread through the infected saliva of a rabid animal via a bite, scratch or being licked in human and animals. The closer the bite is to the brain, the faster the virus will spread. Anyone bitten, scratched or licked (over a wound/sore) by an animal showing abnormal behaviour signs, should wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water to disinfect the wound then immediately thereafter contact a doctor stating you were bitten by an animal that may have Rabies, in order to start treatment. Early signs in humans include weakness, headache and fever with advanced signs including insomnia, anxiety, excessive salivation and difficulty in swallowing, a fear of water, nausea and vomiting.
Abnormal behaviour signs shown in animals include excessive aggression, salivation and being unable to swallow, battling to walk or paralysis. Contact the State Vet, local veterinarian or animal welfare organisation should you see an animal exhibiting these signs. Do not approach the animal as they will often appear tame, a jackal or wild animal coming into a garden and having lost fear of people and dogs need to be approached with caution, as they may attack without reason. Teach your child not to approach or handle any animal without the animal owner’s permission, especially any stray or wild animals. Should you come across a stray animal, approach with caution whether inside or outside your property, if you are unsure contact your local welfare organisation.
It is a legal requirement as in terms of the Animal Diseases Act, 1984, all dogs and cats over three months of age must be vaccinated against Rabies – this is your responsibility as a pet owner. Do not let your pet wander freely outside of your property.
Community safety is important to AACL in preventing this fatal disease. In the period April 2017- March 2018, over 2360 hospital client’s animals and 762 animals seen at our mobile clinics were vaccinated against Rabies. All the animals admitted into our kennels are automatically vaccinated against Rabies. In the past 2 months through the AACL inspectors our hospital has received 3 suspected cases, thankfully after the autopsies, all 3 have proven not to be diseased.
Please find important contact details and links to further articles.
For more information, please contact Carren Nickloes on (011)435-0672.
Pretoria: 012 316 1600
Randfontein: 011 411 4300
Germiston : 011 821 7700
NICD Human Rabies helpline: 082 883 9920