Free rabies jabs for Joburg pets

2010-10-13 10:16

Johannesburg - The Johannesburg SPCA will be administering free rabies inoculations to pets, following 11 confirmed rabies cases of dogs in the area and the death of a child from the disease, Netcare Travel Clinics said on Wednesday.

The inoculations would be free until November 10 to help prevent the spread of infection in domestic animals, from bites by rabid animals, the group said in a statement.

"Rabies reports have been rare in Gauteng... However once introduced into an area, the disease can spread quickly if domestic pets have not been vaccinated," said Netcare doctor Pete Vincent.

Having domestic animals vaccinated against rabies was a legal requirement.

If bitten by an animal suspected of having rabies, people should seek medical attention as soon as possible, cleaning the wound with soap and water and applying an antiseptic in the meantime.

"Speed is of the essence when it comes to the treatment of this disease... as rabies is fatal," Vincent said.

The rabies vaccination was recommended for people travelling through Asia and Africa, and anyone facing the possibility of coming into contact with stray dogs or wild animals like bats.

People could contact the JSPCA on 011 6813600 for further information on inoculations.