Rabies scare

2011-02-02 00:00

AN MTWALUME man is being treated for rabies at Port Shepstone Hospital after his pet dog bit him.

The dog, a Jack Russell, was found to be at an advanced stage of rabies. The incident has sparked a rabies scare after at least seven dogs were found to have the deadly conditon on the South Coast in December.

The development started about a fortnight ago when Clement Phiri and his wife Lindiwe noticed that their dog, Tiny, was behaving strangely and was refusing to eat. Phiri took Tiny to a veterinarian in St Michael’s

“The vet said the dog had biliary, but when I took Tiny home he still refused to eat,” said Phiri. “I took him back the next day but the vet gave Tiny something and sent us home.”

By the third day, Tiny started getting aggressive, chasing children and chickens. Then he bit Phiri.

Lindiwe called the Lower South Coast SPCA to report that the dog was salivating and showing aggressive behaviour.

“When they saw the dog they immediately said that Tiny showed signs of rabies,” she said.

The dog was tested and found to be at an advanced stage of rabies. It was put down. “We are shocked and very traumatised; he was a part of our family,” Phiri said.

The State Veterinarian and the Lower South Coast SPCA have urged pet owners to have their animals vaccinated against rabies and to be aware of the disease’s signs.

“Furious” symptoms, which usually develop in animals 20 to 60 days after exposure, include aggressive behaviour and being highly sensitive to touch and other kinds of stimulation as well as being vicious.

“Dumb” symptoms include being lethargic, weak in one or more limbs, and being unable to raise the head or make sounds because the throat and neck muscles are paralysed.

In both types of rabies, death occurs within a few days after the symptoms appear; usually from respiratory failure. The KwaZulu Natal Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs are running their annual rabies vaccination campaign on the Hibiscus Coast from February 14 to March 2. Rabies is invariably fatal when contracted.

The dates and venues of the vaccination:

Feburary 14: Port Edward Library, 8 am - 12: 30 pm

Nicholson Garage, 1:30 pm - 3 pm

Feburary 15: Glenmore Supermarket, 8 am - 11 am

Munster Protection Services: 11:30 am - 1 pm

7th Heaven Superette Cafe, 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm

16th Feburary: Marine Beach Library, 8 am - 10 am

Greenhart Supermarket, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm

Impenjati Town Board Office, 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm

17th Feburary: Ramsgate Beach Parking, 8 am - 12:30 pm, Mzimela Centre (Margate Ext 3), 1 pm - 3:30 pm

18th Feburary: Margate OK Centre, 8 am - 12:30 pm

SPCA Uvongo, 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm



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