Free anti-rabies vaccinations

Free anti-rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats will be done at various points in the Wesselton area on 6, 7 and 8 March. The times and places will be announced by loudhailer and residents are advised to listen for the announcements.

Vaccinations will also be done free of charge at the Ermelo Civic Centre on 14 and 15 March between 10:00 and 18:00. Residents are requested to make use of this free service and in so doing help to prevent the spread of rabies.

Rabies is a viral disease that causes acute inflammation of the brain in warm-blooded animals. It is transmitted by animals, most commonly by a bite from an infected animal but occasionally by other forms of contact. The virus is shed in the saliva of the infected animal.

40 per cent of people bitten by suspect rabid animals are children under 15 years of age. Rabies is almost invariably fatal if post-exposure treatment is not administered without delay, before the onset of severe symptoms. In South Africa the main sources of the virus are the dog, black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox and the yellow mongoose. In Mpumalanga the main sources are the dog and the yellow mongoose.

Signs and symptoms in affected animals are characterised by behavioural changes. Domestic animals can become wild and aggressive and wild animals become tame, usually showing no fear of humans. Paralysis eventually occurs before death.

 

Different animals exhibit different signs.
In dogs and cats, the first signs are behavioural changes, such as aggression, howling, attacking without warning, salivation (foaming at the mouth), biting at imaginary flies, fixed state stare, aimless wandering, paralysis of the lower jaw, difficulty in swallowing, eating of soil and sticks, choking, vomiting and paralysis.,

In cattle, bellowing, salivation, choking, aggression, wind sucking, difficulty in swallowing, weakness, knuckled feet, difficulty in walking, and paralysis may occur.

People become infected when bitten by an infected animal. It is possible for people to be infected via contamination of cuts, or contamination of the mucus membranes of the mouth or eyes with saliva from an infected animal.

It normally takes from two to 10 weeks for people and animals to show clinical symptoms once bitten. Once clinical symptoms occur in people or animals, no treatment is possible and death eventually occurs.

Prevention
Dogs or cats are the source of 99 per cent of human rabies deaths, therefore it is important that dogs and cats are vaccinated to decrease the risk to humans.

 

Young animals should be vaccinated twice in the first year and then every three years, or as often as required by your state veterinary authorities.
The vaccine is harmless and will not make animals sick.

The state veterinarian must be notified immediately if animals are seen to be acting strangely and rabies is suspected.

Do not handle or go near strange animals, wild animals that seem tame and do not run away from you, sick animals that are not properly restrained or animals that appear aggressive.

For more information phone 017 811 5812/3.

  AUTHOR
Gerald Young

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