Paws for Thought - with Caroline Smith

Posted on 2018-09-11 10:04:24


If you own a dog or cat, please stop reading this right now – and go and check that your pets’ rabies vaccinations are up to date. Shots are required annually; so if it’s more than a year since their last vaccination, you need to make an appointment with your vet right away.

With 62 cases of rabies having been reported in KwaZulu-Natal recently, and at least five people having died (tragically one of them a three-year-old Hillcrest boy who came into contact with an infected cat), the importance of vaccinating pets against the disease cannot be overemphasised.

It doesn’t matter if your dog or cat never goes outside the yard – they can still be infected by rats, moles, stray cats and even bats that get into your property. Rabid animals typically become aggressive and will attack and bite other animals that they might normally be afraid of. However, clinical signs are highly variable. Animals with “dumb” rabies can appear depressed, lethargic and uncoordinated. It is important to call the SPCA to collect stray animals as we have the knowledge and expertise to deal with potential rabies cases. Up to date vaccinations are the only way to protect your pets – and yourself.

Rabies is a fatal viral disease that attacks the brain and central nervous system. The virus is present in the saliva of affected animals and is transmitted to other animals and humans through bites, scratches or other wounds that allow the infected saliva to enter the body.

People who suspect they may have come into contact with an infected dog or cat require urgent medical treatment. Don’t wait for symptoms to appear; once the disease reaches this stage, there is no medical intervention that can save the life of the victim.

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