More than 900 pets vaccinated against rabies in Khayelitsha amid outbreak

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The Western Cape government said it will continue to vaccinate pets in the Khayelitsha area.
The Western Cape government said it will continue to vaccinate pets in the Khayelitsha area.
  • More than 900 pets have been vaccinated against rabies in Khayelitsha since the outbreak was detected last week.
  • An autopsy done on two dogs from the area confirmed that they had died of rabies.
  • The Western Cape government said it will continue to vaccinate pets in the area.

The Western Cape Department of Agriculture's Veterinary Services said it has vaccinated more than 900 pets in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, since an outbreak of rabies was detected in the township last week.

The veterinary authority reported two confirmed cases of rabies in two dogs from Khayelitsha, with both dogs having died since.

"An autopsy was conducted on the dogs. The cause of death was due to rabies," added the department.

No further cases of rabies have been detected since then, the department said.

READ | Cape Town pet owners warned to be on lookout for rabies after two dogs test positive

Western Cape Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer said people and animals who had been in contact with the original two cases have been traced, and appropriate follow-up actions have been taken, including vaccinations and medical treatment.

No further cases of rabies have been detected since the two initial cases, the department said.
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"Veterinary Services officials and animal welfare organisations have been going door to door throughout last week to vaccinate all dogs and cats within a 1km radius of the confirmed cases," said Meyer.

The department said more than 900 dogs and 10 cats have been vaccinated.

Meyer said the department was still trying to determine the origin of the outbreak.

"In trying to determine the origin of the rabies, we are sending the samples to a lab for viral sequencing, which may give us a better idea of which other rabies viruses in South Africa these two viruses are most closely related to," he added.

Pet owners who were not at home at the time of the visits and who still needed their pets to be vaccinated should call the office of the State Veterinarian on 021 808 5253 or visit the nearest animal welfare clinic to arrange vaccination.

The department added:

The public is also encouraged to report any signs of rabies to their nearest vet, animal welfare clinic or the State Vet office ...

Signs of rabies include sudden changes in behaviour (including aggression, confusion or anxiety), weakness, drooling, difficulty swallowing, staggering, seizures, muscle spasms and paralysis.

"These symptoms worsen over time, and death occurs within two to 10 days," said the department.

The Animal Welfare Society of SA (AWS) said rabies vaccinations were free.

"The shelter has an ample supply of rabies vaccinations. We are encouraging pet owners to please bring their pets to the shelter to get vaccinated," said AWS spokesperson Allan Perrins.

SPCA spokesperson Belinda Abraham said vaccinating pets against rabies is crucial, especially amid the outbreak.

"Members of the public can bring their pets to get vaccinated free of charge during the week and on Saturdays," said Abraham.

The SPCA is open Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 16:30 and Saturdays from 08:00 to 12:00.

The department said it will continue to vaccinate pets in the area.

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