Rabies alert in Umvoti

2018-03-07 06:00
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THERE have been a number of positive rabies cases reported in Umvoti since the beginning of the year. Therefore an appeal to all communities to be on the alert for the disease and to stay safe according to the following guidelines drawn up by Umvoti Animal Hospital personnel:

The most important step in keeping safe from rabies is to ensure that your dogs and cats are vaccinated.

Vaccinate puppies at three months and then again within the first year.

Annual vaccination is recommended to ensure the highest level of immunity. Maintaining adequate minimum vaccination is the legal responsibility of all dog owners, and records must be available to prove this in case of a dog biting a person. If a dog is exposed to rabies and is not adequately vaccinated, it must be put down to avoid risk to other animals or humans.

Do not pick up stray animals, even puppies, as these animals may be incubating the disease.

Should you be bitten by an animal seek medical treatment as soon as possible.

SIGNS TO WATCH OUT FOR IN DOGS:

Rabies virus affects the brain, thus any type of strange behavior could be seen as a symptom. The most commonly reported symptoms are wandering, aggression and salivating but some animals will appear sick and may seem paralysed.

In cattle, common signs include excessive bellowing, aggression, salivation, paralysis or weakness in the legs and an inability to drink or aversion to water.

Wildlife are also susceptible to rabies, and there has been a number of positive jackals and mongoose cases – a wild animal acting tame or entering property is a danger sign.

If you find a dead jackal or mongoose on your property, please submit for testing through Umvoti Animal Hospital or directly to Allerton Veterianry Laboratory, 458 Townbush Road Cascades Pietermaritzburg, 0333476200. To be safe when handling suspect carcasses - wear gloves and handle the carcass through a plastic bag.

If submitting for testing, double bag the carcass and place in a box.

A factor complicating rabies control is the long incubation period.

An animal may take 1- 6 months to become rabid after being bitten by another rabid animal. This complicates control, as it means that there can be periods with no reported cases followed by a new outbreak that traced back to a case months previously.

Does rabies affect other domestic species and should they also be vaccinated?

Should you have any concerns or further queries regarding rabies please contact Dr Isla Mackellar Umvoti Animal Hospital 0334172073 / 0846438972 or Dan Mosadi ( Control Animal Health Technician) 071 687 5567.

Rabies vaccinations , on Umvoti farms and rural areas, began on Tuesday this week as arranged by Umvoti Animal Hospital,

Umvoti Agricultural Society, Department of Agriculture and Department of Health.

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